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Competition

EU court upholds €2.4bn Google fine



The EU’s second-highest court on 10 November upheld a fine against Google Library photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne

The EU’s second-highest court on 10 November upheld a fine against Google Library photo: Patricia Pitsch/Maison Moderne

The EU General Court on Wednesday upheld a €2.4bn fine against Google, one of three antitrust penalties issued by the European Commission against the internet giant.

The commission has issued fines of more than €8bn against Google in recent years for violations of competition rules. The €2.4bn sanction dates back to 2017 when Brussels said that Google had given its own shopping service unfair advantage over smaller rivals.

Google appealed the fine but the EU’s second-highest court, based in Luxembourg, on 10 November said the company “favours its own comparison shopping service over competing services, rather than a better result over another.”

The search engine can lodge an appeal against the General Court’s verdict with the European Court of Justice, the EU’s top court.

The case against Google forms part of a crackdown on big tech led by the EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, which has yielded mixed results so far.

The General Court in July 2020 overturned a decision by the commission for Apple to pay €13bn in taxes to Ireland. Vestager in September last year filed an appeal. The court in May sided with Amazon in another tax case, saying the company did not have to pay €250m in taxes to Luxembourg.