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Google loses EU court fight over $2.8bln antitrust fine

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The EU’s General Court ruled Wednesday that the European Commission was right in fining Google €2.42bln ($2.8 billion) for an antirust breach, according to Reuters.

The bloc’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager sanctioned the world’s most popular internet search engine in 2017 for favouring its own price-comparison shopping service to give it an unfair advantage against smaller European rivals.

The shopping case was the first of a trio of decisions that has seen Google rack up a total of €8.25 bln in EU antitrust fines in the last decade. The company could face yet more defeats in the other two cases involving its Android mobile operating system and AdSense advertising service, where the EU is seen to have stronger arguments.

The court ruling will strengthen Vestager’s hand in her investigations into Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

“The General Court largely dismisses Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favouring its own comparison shopping service over competing comparison shopping services,” stated the Court.

This is not the first time that the EU’s General Court has ruled on an antitrust case brought by the European Commission and directed at a tech giant.

The EU is currently discussing how to toughen its rulebook to ensure fairer competition across the 27 member nations.

Google said it would review the judgment and that it has already complied with the Commission’s order to ensure a level playing field for rivals. It did not say if it would appeal to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), Europe’s top court.

The Commission welcomed the ruling, saying it would provide legal clarity for the market.