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Google tells courtroom ‘staggering’ $5 billion EU antitrust nice is flawed

A 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) European Union antitrust nice was based mostly on flawed calculations, Alphabet’s Google mentioned on Thursday, urging Europe’s second-highest courtroom to scrap or scale back what it mentioned was not an acceptable penalty.

Google was fined for utilizing its Android cell working system to thwart rivals and cement its dominance typically web search from 2011, within the largest penalty meted out to any firm discovered responsible of breaching EU antitrust guidelines.

“The fine that was imposed, a staggering 4.34 billion euros, was not appropriate,” Google’s lawyer Genevra Forwood instructed the five-judge panel of the General Court on the fourth day of a week-long listening to, which is going down three years after the European Commission sanctioned the corporate.

“The problem is not the headline-grabbing fine per se. The problem is how the Commission reached that figure,” she mentioned.

Forwood mentioned there was no anti-competitive intent in Google’s actions nor might it have recognized that its conduct was an abuse based mostly on EU case regulation and there was no precedent for it.

“So it was wrong for the Commission to impose any fine at all, let alone turn up the dials to reach its biggest fine ever,” Forwood mentioned.

Margrethe Vestager stands at a podium
European Union regulators, led by Margrethe Vestager, EU’s commissioner of competitors, have accused Google of utilizing its market dominance to unfairly thwart rivals.
AFP by way of Getty Images

She additionally took subject with the EU competitors enforcer including a 11% gravity issue to Google’s nice in contrast with 5% for Intel in 2009 in a separate case.

“Even if this Court considers that a fine is appropriate, it would only be proper to turn the dials right down,” she mentioned.

However, the European Commission’s lawyer Anthony Dawes mentioned Google “simply could not be unaware of the anti-competitive behavior of its practices.”

“Infringements committed negligently are no less serious than those committed intentionally,” Dawes mentioned, including that the nice was simply 4.5% of Google’s income in 2017 versus a ten% cap allowed underneath EU guidelines.

A verdict is more likely to come subsequent yr.