EU Court Requires Google To Pay $2.8 Billion Anti-Monopoly Fine

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Nov 10, 2021 - 11:49 AM

That the US (specifically, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen) cheered a few weeks ago when it managed to cobble together an international deal via the OECD - or at least a framework for said deal -  to create a new global minimum corporate tax. The deal looks something like this. Countries like Ireland with among the lowest base corporate tax rates have agreed to raise them, and in exchange, the US will allow other countries to take a bigger piece of tax action from American multinationals - particularly tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google owner Alphabet.

Unfortunately for Alphabet, which was memorably hit with a trifecta of billion-euro fines a few years back over allegations of monopolistic behavior (note: many of these issues are supposedly being addressed in the tax deal), the global deal won't free it from having to shell out the massive fines levied by the European Commission's notorious anti-trust chief Margrethe Vesteger.

On Wednesday, the EU General Court approved a massive €2.4 billion ($2.8 billion) fine, agreeing with Vesteger that Google was squeezing out rival shopping services on its search engine (the reason for the fine).

On Wednesday, the Luxembourg-based court backed the decision by the EU’s executive body.

€while relegating the results from competing comparison services in those pages by means of ranking algorithms, Google departed from competition on the merits," a statement by the General Court read.

Google has the right to appeal the ruling at the ECJ, the EU's highest court. The fine was assessed following an investigation that began all the way back in 2010.

The US tech giant appealed against the fine and called it "wrong on the law, the facts, and the economics," but still complied with the European Commission’s order to change the way its shopping service operated.

For Google, it was the first of three antitrust fines, which together amount to €8 billion ($9.2), handed to the US tech giant in the EU in recent years.