Google ordered to pay $2.8 billion antitrust fine after unsuccessful appeal in EU court

Google ordered to pay $2.8 billion antitrust fine after unsuccessful appeal in EU court
The EU hammer is going down hard on Google these days. Back in September, the search giant went to court facing a record 4.3-billion euro (around $3.7 billion) EU antitrust fine for paying phone makers to have Google Search pre-installed so Android can compete with Apple.

The verdict on the case is likely to appear next year but while Google has managed to postpone the judgment on this case, today it lost an appeal and was ordered to pay a $2.8 billion antitrust fine.

Back in 2017, the European Commission ruled that Google must pay the whopping fine for ”abuse of its market dominance over shopping ads and illegal search manipulation.” Today, EU’s General Court in Luxembourg upheld the previous decision stating that:

"Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That's a good thing. But Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors."

Google’s lawyers argued that "While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data show that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches,” but in the end, the judge was unmoved and Google lost the appeal.

The $2.8 billion fine may seem like a huge bite out of Google’s capitalization, but this is not the case. As of November 2021 Alphabet (Google) has a market capitalization of $1.979 trillion, up from $1.09 trillion during the same period last year.

Google’s track record in court

The company has a long history of visiting courthouses all around the world and it’s not a case of the European Commission targeting big US tech companies. Back in July, a federal judge ruled that Google must stand trial for recording and disseminating private conversations of people who accidentally activated Google Assistant.

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Some of you may also remember the great Google vs Oracle saga. Oracle sued Google over the illegitimate use of Java code in Android and the company asked for $9 billion in damages. Google won this one, as the US Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling that Google’s inclusion of Oracle’s software code in Android did not constitute fair use under U.S. copyright law.

Last October, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in Washington D.C. Federal Court charging Google with anti-competitive behavior in regards to search and search advertising. According to the lawsuit, Google was able to illegally run a monopoly over search by signing multiple contracts to get Google Search to be the default search engine on various smartphone brands, including Apple, Samsung, LG, and Motorola. Part of these contracts even include carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

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