VIEW Google loses court fight against $2.8-bln EU antitrust decision

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LUXEMBOURG, Nov 10 (Businesshala) – Alphabet (GOOGL.O) entity Google on Wednesday lost an appeal against a 2.42 billion euro ($2.8 billion) European antitrust decision, a major first for the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager. The victory is one of three court decisions that will strengthen the EU’s push to regulate big tech.

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The following are the comments of the complainants and lawyers on the decision of the General Court:

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Shivon Ruff, CEO of UK price comparison site whose complaint triggered an EU buying case

“The importance of eliminating Google’s ability to manipulate this unprecedented power to its own anti-competitive ends cannot be overstated.

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Today’s decision gives the Commission a firm basis for now implementing its June 2017 prohibition decision – not only for the distressed comparison shopping market directly addressed by the decision, but for the travel, local, jobs and other vertical search markets. also for whom this judgment sets an example.”

Richard Stables, CEO of Kelku Group and Google Critic

“The real work now begins to fix the ineffective measure that failed to restore market competition and choice – and which could ultimately undermine efforts to regulate Big Tech in Europe.”

Marcus Ferber, I MLA

“This ruling sends a clear signal that even Big Tech companies cannot do the same in digital markets. Rules are the rules, even for Google.

However, the case still highlights some shortcomings of EU competition law. Since the case began in 2014, many of Google’s competitors have disappeared from the market. Going forward, we need a legal basis that is unquestionable and allows for much swifter action to fight abuses by Big Tech.”

MONIQUE GOYENS, Director General of the European Consumer Group BEUC

“Today’s decision of the General Court makes it clear that Google should give all market players an equal opportunity to compete on their own merits and to gain the confidence of consumers on an equal footing. In light of the decision, we request the European Commission that Calls to ensure that Google does not abuse its dominance as a search engine by prioritizing its own services in other areas.”

Thomas Vinge, partner at law firm Clifford and advisor to Google Rivals

“Google was stunned by this decision and is buzzing all the way to its Mountain View headquarters.

If Google is smart, it will take a page out of Microsoft’s playbook after its 2007 General Court failure, cut its losses, drop an appeal, and move on. It made Microsoft a world of good.

Today’s ruling gives the European Commission the ammunition it needs to crack down on Google in other areas where it is throwing its weight around, such as online advertising, the App Store and video streaming.

Luther Lowe, Yelp Senior Vice President, Public Policy

“The European Commission must now take this favorable precedent and prosecute Google for its parallel abuse in the local search market and allowing services such as Yelp to compete on merit.

But the judgment of history on this period will be based on whether this Odyssey ultimately made a tangible impact for European consumers, so it is important that these devices be used in markets where competition can be avoided.”

Jonas Koponen, Partner at Linkletters

“This (decision) is important in itself, but also for antitrust enforcement in the tech sector in general, and also for new regulation that is being proposed for platforms in Europe and elsewhere.”

Rasmus Andresen, EU lawmaker

“This case once again shows that EU laws are not enough. We cannot lose ourselves in years of court cases when the abuse of market power becomes evident. It is therefore important that we now act on the legislative on Digital Markets Act. End the process expeditiously and the law may be enforced.

Only when Big Tech realizes the economic consequences through punishment and regulation will we see change.

In addition to the adjustments to the Digital Markets Act, we call for tightening competition law to make it easier to divide platforms that are too dominant.”

Reporting by Francois Aulner, Writing by Fu Yun Chi; Editing by Katherine Evans and Bernadette Baum


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