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EU court to rule on 2.4bn Google appeal of historic fine

Google

U.S. tech giant Google on Wednesday will know the outcome of an appeal against a massive EU competition fined for squeezing rival shopping services on its search engine at the bloc’s second highest court.

After years of investigation, the EU executive branch, which acts as the bloc’s competition watchdog, concluded in 2017 that Google had systematically given preferential placement to its own shopping service and demoted rivals in search results.

The decision came with a 2.4billion-euro (2.8-billion-dollar) fine, the first of three antitrust penalties slapped on Google by the European Commission in recent years, totaling more than 8 billion euros.

Google complied with the decision and changed the way its shopping services worked but appealed the fine at the EU general court, which is to hand down its ruling on Wednesday.

The fine was “wrong on the law, the facts, and the economics,’’ the company said when they contested the decision.

A victory for European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager would bring fresh impetus to her attempts to regulate Google’s activities in the EU single market.

The commission opened proceedings in this case in November 2010, following a number of complaints by European and U.S. competitors that Google had breached EU antitrust rules.

Wednesday’s decision can still be appealed at the European Court of Justice, the bloc’s highest court.

(dpa/NAN)

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Chuka Francis

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