Google slams EU Commission for stifling innovation

Google tells EU judges that it was unfairly accused of thwarting rivals of its Shopping service

Google tells EU judges that it was unfairly accused of thwarting rivals of its Shopping service

Google (GOOGL.O) will on Wednesday seek to overturn the first of three hefty European Union antitrust fines at Europe's second-highest court in a landmark case that could determine how EU enforcers take on US tech giants for abuse of market power, Reuters reported.

The success of Google's appeal might depend on whether it can prove that self-preferencing is not anti-competitive, and whether Amazon and eBay are to be seen as Google's competitors.

Instead of negotiation, she repeatedly fined Google and slapped Apple with a 13 billion euro tax bill that boss Tim Cook dismissed as "political crap".

"Google's search service acts as a de-facto kingmaker".

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As many as seven billion daily searches make the US giant "the front page of the internet", Nicholas Khan, a lawyer for the European Commission told a panel of judges in the opening session of a three-day hearing at the EU General Court in Luxembourg.

Google is expected to plead that the commission has wrongly applied arguments used successfully against Microsoft and that the company has the right to give advantage to its own services.

We are witnessing yet another legal dispute between one of the big five USA tech giants and the European Commission.

The EU has fined Google a total of 8.25 billion euros in three separate cases, including one involving its Android smartphone operating system. "Conceptually, there is nothing esoteric about this case", Khan told the judges.

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"Google's behaviour constitutes a serious abuse of dominance which must stop or it will destroy competition in all the markets in which it decides to enter", said Thomas Höppner, a lawyer for three companies fighting the group.

The company will also underline that the European Union case erroneously failed to account for the spectacular rise of Amazon and eBay in its assessment of Google Shopping.

On top of that, Google was ordered to pay a record-breaking €2.4 billion in antitrust fines, which it will today attempt to overturn. "The case is, in a nutshell, about what users are presented with, having made a search", Khan said.

Judges will rule in the coming months. In a statement to the BBC, Google is arguing that the fine has no legal or economic merit and that their shopping ads have always been helping people find needed products quickly and easily, as well as assisting sellers reach a wider audience.

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