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Following an antitrust investigation, in 2017 the European Commission had fined Google LLC and Alphabet Inc. a record €2.4 billion for abuse of Google’s dominant position. In brief, it found that Google was self-preferencing, by presenting results from its own Google Shopping first upon a so called “Google search”.

On appeal to the General Court, the fine was confirmed in 2021. The General Court only accepted part of Google and Alphabet’s argument, namely that there was no negative anti-competitive effect on the market for general search services.

Google and Alphabet further appealed the General Court’s judgment to the Court of Justice. However, Advocate General Juliane Kokott, in her opinion of the 11th of January 2024, confirmed that in her view, the appeal should be dismissed. A.G. Kokott stated that she agreed with the Commission and General Court that Google had exploited its dominant position on the market for online general search services in order to gain an advantage on the downstream market, that is the market for specialised product search services, where it did not hold a dominant position. Google therefore engaged in unequal treatment of competitors as a result of self-preferencing by way of recourse to leveraging.

This document does not purport to give legal, financial or tax advice. Should you require further information or legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Annalies Muscat