Briefing

Google slams EU Commission for stifling innovation

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In court hearings Wednesday, the firm claimed the EU’s antitrust regulators are hindering innovation. It is seeking to overturn a €2.4-billion fine from 2017 for giving its own price-comparison shopping service an unfair advantage against competitors in search results. The company’s lawyer argued Google didn’t favour its own service, but simply developed a better one than its European rivals. (Reuters)

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Talking point: The dispute over the fine comes as Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s competition commissioner, prepares to introduce new policy that will make it harder for U.S. and Chinese tech giants to outcompete smaller local firms. The changes, which Vestager is expected to propose next week, add to the antitrust watchdog’s crackdown on tech companies via fines, like the one against Google, that have been criticized as mere slaps on the wrist. For example, in November 2019, Google Shopping’s rivals claimed the penalty hadn’t incentivized the company to change its anti-competitive behaviour.