ANTITRUST

Google Says $2.6B Is Too Much In EU Antitrust Case

Google antitrust

Google protested that a $2.6 billion EU fine was too high during the last day of a three-day court case regarding alleged antitrust behavior, according to a report by Reuters

A judge, in response to Google, said the money was a small amount for a company that is so wealthy, and asked how it would possibly miss that money.

“You are one of the richest companies in the world,” Irish Judge Colm Mac Eochaidh said. Likening it to someone with 120 euros who was fined 2.4 euros for littering, he asked, “Would you miss the 2.4 euros?”

Google also has two more upcoming antitrust cases.

The European Commission set the fine in 2017, and it’s been going through the courts ever since. Google took umbrage with what’s known as multipliers on the fine, which exist as deterrents. Google said they were excessive and unwarranted.

Google is facing a trio of penalties that total 8.25 billion euros.

“2.4 billion euros is an eye-catching amount, it might attract the headlines but it is not justified by the actual facts of this case,” said Christopher Thomas, Google’s lawyer.

He argued that the fine was unwarranted because Google was not engaging in anticompetitive behavior and also its market shares did not justify the amount of the multipliers.

The multipliers are set between 5 and 20 percent of Google’s 2016 turnover in the EU. The law allows for a multiplier of 30 percent.

Thomas said antitrust commissioners should have looked at how Google tried to settle the case by offering concessions before they fined the company.

“Credit should be given for Google’s good faith attempts to find a solution to the Commission’s concerns with its three commitments offers and the almost 9 months engineering effort spent building that solution provisionally agreed with the Commission,” he said.

European Commission lawyer Anthony Dawes said the commission was just following rules.

“The Commission scrupulously followed the methodology set out in the guidelines. Google’s conduct constituted a well established form of abuse,” he said.

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