Google and EU Engage in Courtroom Battle

Google vs EU: a decade-long saga goes to court

Google vs EU: a decade-long saga goes to court

It also represented the biggest regulatory setback yet for Google.

The next significant fine came in July 2018, when the European Commission fined Google a record 4.3 billion euros (£3.83bn) for commercial practices related to its Android mobile operating system, the world's highest ever antitrust penalty.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a tough line against Google, Apple and other dominant tech companies, is due to present the paper next month.

Google has paid the fine and changed its behaviour, but the company will strongly condemn the decision in the EU's General Court as ill-founded and unfair.

The EU's case mirrors similar litigation against Microsoft, a legal labyrinth that ran throughout most of the 1990s and early 2000s and saw the company fined about €1.4 billion.

The document also said that competition managers were considering regulating the behavior of dominant companies as a preventive measure, a measure that would address concerns that regulatory actions sometimes arrive too late to fix the damage suffered by smaller rivals.

"It is wrong on the law, the facts, and the economics".

The key issue is whether self preferencing is anti-competitive and whether Amazon (AMZN.O) and eBay (EBAY.O) should be counted as Google's rivals.

For rivals, the case focuses on the role of Google as a central online guardian.

Thomas Höppner, a lawyer for three companies fighting Google, argued that the company had abused its overwhelming dominance of the market that, if not stopped, would kill competition dead in all the markets in which the company decides to enter.

"The judgement will have repercussions for a large variety of industries that depend on fair ranking of their services on Google Search", he said.

The EU and Google have been locked in battle since 2010 when the commission first looked into accusations that the search engine was squeezing rivals from results in order to promote ads and Google Shopping, its price comparison service.

The court ruling is likely to arrive next year.

The legal fight comes as European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager gears up to take on USA tech giants and Chinese companies with legislation in the coming months, on top of ongoing antitrust investigations. Amid pressure from the United States and companies.

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