The EU has fined Google a total of € 8.5 billion in three separate competition cases since 2017 and has challenged each of them. Opponents said his legal defeat could make Google vulnerable to further competition fines.
“Today’s ruling gives a clear message that Google’s conduct was illegal and provides the necessary legal clarity for the market,” the European Commission said.
Google was penalized in 2017 after a seven-year investigation into allegations that it used the dominance of its search engine to promote its own shopping service at the expense of others. The investigation was launched following a complaint by Foundem, a UK price comparison website.
Shivaun Raff, CEO of Foundema, said the decision could expose Google to a number of other cases, such as the company’s jobs and travel services.
“Today’s judgment provides the Commission with a solid basis to now enforce its June 2017 ban decision – not only for the besieged comparative shopping market directly addressed by the decision, but also for travel markets, local markets, job markets and other vertical search markets. , for whom this decision sets a precedent, ”she said.
Ms. Vestager, who was a thorn in the side of Silicon Valley companies, was defeated at the General Court in tax cases involving Amazon and Apple.
Google may decide to appeal the matter. This judgment relates to a very specific set of facts, and although we will review it in detail, we made changes as early as 2017 to comply with the decision of the European Commission.
With the decision, Google won a minor victory, which overturned the Commission’s finding that its conduct had distorted competition in the search engine market.
Lord Leggatt said in a separate UK court ruling that Richard Lloyd, who led the campaign, could not file a “representative case” on behalf of millions of iPhone users. Mr. Lloyd said millions could be eligible for £ 750 each because Google followed them in 2011 and 2012 without consent
The company dismissed the lawsuit in the High Court in 2018, but the Court of Appeal overturned the judgment in 2019, prompting Google to file it in the Supreme Court.
Lord Leggatt said Mr Lloyd could not bring an action because the plaintiffs could not prove that each of the 4.4 million iPhone users had suffered the same damage.
Following the ruling, Mr Lloyd said: “We are deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has not done enough to protect the public from Google and other large technology companies that are breaking the law. They overturned the very clear judgment of the senior professional judges at the Court of Appeal. “
Google said: “This claim was related to events that happened a decade ago and that we were addressing at the time. People want to know that they are safe and secure online, so for years we have been focusing on building products and infrastructure that respect and protect people’s privacy. ”