ANTITRUST

Google Points To Amazon As 'Overwhelming Competitive Force' In EU Antitrust Case

Google Points To Amazon in EU Court Battle

Amazon has been pulled into an ongoing court battle between Google and European Union competition regulators over a $2.6 billion fine involving alleged anti-competitive behavior by the search engine, according to a report Wednesday (Feb. 13) by Bloomberg.

Google’s lawyers argued that the EU didn’t take Amazon into consideration when it fined the company in 2017. The EU said that Google promoted its own search results over those of smaller rivals.

The rivals, who filed the complaint with the EU that led to the fine, say that Google used its position to its advantage to discriminate against them. Google said this argument doesn’t take stock of how Amazon rose to prominence.

Google's lawyer, Christopher Thomas, said that Amazon and platforms like it “are the overwhelming competitive force in this market.”

“(The) arrival of merchant platforms in their market is clear,” Thomas said, in regards to shopping search services. It was an error by the EU, he said, to not include Amazon in how customers search for things. This should invalidate the EU’s fine, he said. 

Nicholas Khan, the EU lawyer, said that Google has its own documentation that “indicate that Google and Amazon are business partners,” and definitely not competitors.

The EU views Amazon as a retailer, and not as a search engine to direct customers. Amazon “was the biggest beneficiary” of Google’s choice to discriminate against smaller companies, said EU supporting Thomas Hoeppner, a lawyer for Axel Springer SE’s Visual Meta search unit.

“Large retailers consider merchant platforms like Amazon as a competitor and not a distribution channel,” he said.

Amazon said it isn’t supporting either side in the dispute, and it won’t comment publicly on the case. Amazon has been dealing with an EU antitrust investigation of its own, as a probe was started in 2019 to find out whether the company benefits from its data collection practices.

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