The European Union's legal team hit back at Google's fight to strike out a €2.4 billion ($2.6 billion) fine for unfairly favoring its own shopping services — telling judges at the bloc's top court that the case largely boils down to whom they should trust more.
The Alphabet Inc. unit is appealing a 2021 ruling by the EU's lower tribunal that backed the European Commission's decision that the firm violated antitrust rules by favoring its own shopping service over those of its rivals. It was forced to change the way it displays shopping search results that might help rivals grab some of the valuable ad space on search pages.
But ending an in-the-weeds debate about what legal test should have been correct in this case and the Brussels-based commission's understanding of what competition is, Fernando Castillo de la Torre, lawyer for the regulator, reminded the court that it's been enforcing competition law for decades.
“You have to decide if you want to trust the enforcement of competition to Google or the commission,” he told the hearing at the EU's Court of Justice. “Google's conduct in this case paid off” and “transformed the fortunes of its own service,” while “the fortunes of rival services took a diametrically opposed turn,” he told the court.
Earlier, Google argued that it couldn't be expected to treat its competitors the same as it does its own businesses. The 2017 penalty — then a record for the bloc's antitrust watchdog — was the first in a series of high profile cases where the commission sought to crackdown on the dominance of Silicon Valley firms in the region.
“Companies do not compete by treating competitors equally with themselves,” said Thomas Graf, a lawyer for Google. “The whole point of competition is for aRead more on tech.hindustantimes.com