Google fight EU over €2.4bn fine for “abusing its dominance” in shopping search results
Google is set to launch an appeal against a €2.4 billion (£2 billion) fine after it was accused of abusing its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service.
The European Commission slapped Google with the fine in 2017 over allegations that it used its dominance to prominently feature products from its own shopping search engine in search results and buried products from rival sites.
A hearing is now set to take place in Luxembourg’s General Court between February 12 and 14 in which Google will attempt to overturn the fine.
The EU has become increasingly critical of Google over the past few years, and this £2 billion fine is the first of a potential three penalties which could add up to nearly £7 billion.
Another two fines could be handed to the tech giant over further allegations that its Android software unfairly promotes its own apps and that it blocks adverts from rival search engines.
“Google has given its own comparison shopping service an illegal advantage by abusing its dominance in general Internet search,” the EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated in 2017.
“It has promoted its own service, and demoted rival services. It has harmed competition and consumers. That’s illegal under EU antitrust rules.”
Google is expected to state that it the European Commission wrongly left out Amazon’s presence in its search results, and that its actions are protecting shopping sites with already dwindling customer interest unrelated to Google’s listings.
A Google spokesperson said: “We’re appealing the European Commission’s 2017 Google Shopping decision because it is wrong on the law, the facts, and the economics.”
“Shopping ads have always helped people find the products they are looking for quickly and easily, and helped merchants to reach potential customers. We look forward to making our case in court and demonstrating that we have improved quality and increased choice for consumers.”