The € 2.4 billion fine imposed by the European Commission on Google in 2017 for abuse of power with its search engine remains in force. According to a European Court, the fine was rightly imposed by the commission.
Google was fined four years ago because the tech company would have preferred its own price comparison service Google Shopping in the results of its search engine. As a result, competitors such as TripAdvisor and Amazon were always placed under Google.
At the time, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager (competition authority) called Google’s actions illegal. “It deprived other companies of the opportunity to compete fairly and innovate. More importantly, it deprived European consumers of a real choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”Google did not agree. The company insisted on being able to better serve users in this way.
The ruling of the General Court of the European Union (part of the Court of Justice of the European Union) is seen as very important. Especially now that the European Commission is taking stronger action against the dominant position of large tech companies. This decision should provide guidance to the commission on similar cases in the future, in order to issue fines or impose other penalties.
By the way, Google can still appeal to the European Court of Justice. At the moment it is not known whether the company will do so. The company says it is considering the ruling and stresses that it made adjustments in 2017 to meet the requirements of the European Commission.
This ruling by the European Court is the first in three cases that Google has brought against the European Commission. There is also a case against a € 4.34 billion fine imposed on Google in 2018 for unfair competition with its mobile operating system Android.
There is also a case against a € 1.49 billion fine pending in March 2019, because Google is alleged to have abused its strong market position with AdSense.