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Google loses Brussels battle over €2.4bn search fine

Telegraph 10 Nov 2021 05:36

Google has failed to overturn a €2.4bn (£2.1bn) EU fine for abusing its search engine monopoly, marking a key legal setback in its battles with Brussels.

The EU’s General Court in Luxembourg largely upheld the 2017 penalty and the EU decision that the company had illegally squeezed out rivals to its shopping service.

However, Google won a victory in a separate battle in the British courts, when it successfully blocked an attempt from campaigners to sue it on behalf of millions of iPhone owners.

The Supreme Court reversed a 2019 Court of Appeal decision that allowed the campaign group Google You Owe Us to claim billions in damages against the search giant for tracking iPhone users without their permission.

Wednesday’s decision in the EU court is a significant victory for Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s competition chief, who has had previous decisions against big tech companies overturned.

The EU has fined Google a total of €8.5bn in three separate competition cases since 2017 and has contested each of them. Opponents said its legal defeat could make Google vulnerable to further competition fines.

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