- Wednesday’s decision can be appealed and taken to the EU’s highest court.
- This is not the first time that the General Court of the European Union has ruled on an antitrust case brought by the European Commission and directed at a tech giant.
The European Union’s General Court ruled on Wednesday that the European Commission had fined Google for antitrust violations – representing a historic moment for antitrust policy in the EU.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said in 2017 that Google had backed its comparison shopping services and fined the company 2.42 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for breaching antitrust rules. Was. Alphabet-unit Google contested the claims using the European Union’s second highest court.
“The General Court found that, while supporting its comparison shopping service on its general results pages by way of more favorable performance and positioning, through ranking algorithms removing results from competing comparison services in those pages, Google merits But the competition has departed, the court said in a press release on Wednesday.
Apart from this, the court also confirmed a fine of 2.42 billion euros. “The Court of General has concluded its analysis that the amount of the fine imposed on Google needs to be confirmed,” the court said.
Wednesday’s decision can be appealed and taken to the EU’s highest court. The European Commission and Google were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Businesshala on Wednesday.
This is not the first time that the General Court of the European Union has ruled on an antitrust case brought by the European Commission and directed at a tech giant.
The Chamber ruled in July 2020 that the Commission had failed to prove that the Irish government had given Apple tax benefits – this was after the Brussels-based institution ordered the Republic of Ireland to recover 13 billion euros from the iPhone maker in 2016 .
The court’s decision dealt a significant blow to the EU’s competition chief, and his teammate Margaret Vestager. It essentially said that he did not do a good job in proving his case.
Vestager decided to appeal the decision, pushing it to the European Court of Justice, the highest court of the European Union, where the matter is yet to be decided.
At the time, the decision of the General Court highlighted one of the main challenges to European competition policy: in antitrust cases, it is the Commission that bears the brunt of the evidence and not the defendant.
The EU is currently discussing how to toughen its rule book to ensure fair competition among the 27 member states.
Clifford Chance’s antitrust partner Thomas Vinge told Businesshala on Tuesday that the general court’s decision “will put wind in the DMA’s sails”. [Digital Markets Act],
The DMA is one of the big legislative pieces the EU is working on and which, if approved, will look to deal with the behavior that is closing down European markets.