Google seeks to extricate itself from record €2.4bn EU antitrust penalty

Google seeks to extricate itself from record €2.4bn EU antitrust penalty

Google has launched an appeal against a €2.4bn fine levied against it by Brussels over its abuse of its market leading position in search rankings to boost its own shopping comparison service.

In launching its appeal Google has gained several years breathing space while Luxembourg lawyers ruminate on the merits of the case, with a defiant Google saying that it ‘respectfully’ disagreed with the original judgement.

The European Commission also remains unmoved however and has vowed to ‘defend its decision in court’, adamant that Google and its parent Alphabet, had illegally promoted its own price comparison services at the expense of rival firms and consumers.

This gerrymandering was claimed to have led to 45 times more traffic to Google’s shopping service in the UK than would otherwise have been the case.

In June commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, wrote: "Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That's a good thing. But Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.”

Google has been ordered to end such practices by 28 September under threat of a fine for every day it continues to operate in its present fashion.

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