Google Appeals $2.6 Billion EU Antitrust Fine in Last-Ditch Effort

Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google made a last-ditch effort at Europe’s top court on Tuesday to overturn a 2.42 billion euro ($2.6 billion) EU antitrust fine imposed for market abuse related to its shopping service. The tech giant argued that regulators failed to show that its practices were anti-competitive.

The case, which could eventually lead to a hefty fine for Google that would be worth as much as 10% of the company’s annual global income, stems from how it promotes products and services in search engine results pages and demotes links to rival comparison shopping services. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch and top competition enforcer said this gave Google a “significant advantage” over competitors.

In a statement, Google’s lawyers said the Commission had “not shown that its treatment of rivals was abusive.” They also said differentiating products and services was a central aspect of market competition. “Qualifying every difference in treatment regardless of whether it affects the profitability of a product or service, as abusive would seriously harm the ability and incentive for companies to compete with each other,” they added.

The court will be asked to rule on the legality of an EU decision to fine Google for abusing its dominant position in the online search market and impose a so-called structural remedy requiring it to sell off a significant part of its online advertising business. The case is the latest in a series of Brussels antitrust investigations into Silicon Valley digital giants that have cost them 8.25 billion euros in fines over the past decade.

Google, also facing antitrust probes in Britain and the United States, says the European Union’s competition watchdog is unfairly targeting it. The company, which brought in $54.5 billion in ad sales in the first three months of this year, has repeatedly said that it complies with all European competition laws and that its rivals enjoy free and open access to the same data it uses to target ads.

The antitrust case against Google marks a new front in an ongoing battle over tech monopolies. European lawmakers are discussing ways to toughen rules for how the EU enforces competition law and the penalties that can be imposed on dominant firms. But it is also a reminder that past cases that ended with fines and requirements for companies to stop anti-competitive activities have often not been enough to curb the power of big technology firms. Experts say that regulatory pressures may intensify further as the European Union grapples with growing concerns about data privacy and consumer protections.

Chelsea Bonner

Hello, my name is Chelsea Bonner, With a body of work that encompasses everything from heart-wrenching dramas to epic adventures, I have proven time to time again that I am a true literary chameleon, able to adapt any style and tone to suit any genre or subject matter. Beyond my impressive literary achievements, I am also a respected figure in the writing community, serving as a mentor and role model to aspiring writers around the world. My commitment to fostering the next generation of talent is truly inspirational, and their impact on the literary world will be felt for years to come.

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