Google has lost its appeal against a €2.42 billion antitrust fine imposed by the European Commission in relation to its shopping service.
The ruling was delivered by the European General Court (EGC), the lower tribunal of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which decided to uphold the fine.
An appeal before the higher European Court of Justice (ECJ) is still possible.
The Commission argued that Google had unfairly used its dominant search engine to redirect traffic to Google Shopping, a service that allows users to compare products and prices from online retailers.
Brussels says that when the company launched the service back in 2004 (under the name of Froogle), it was not successful and failed to live up to the expectations.
But from 2008, the executive claims Google began to systematically favour its shopping service in the results of its popular search engine, whose market dominance exceeds 90% in most EU countries. Google Shopping now routinely appears at the very top of search results, Brussels noted.
This practice squeezed out rival comparison shopping services, which were demoted in search results and made virtually impossible to find. As a result, people were exclusively exposed to Google Shopping, turning the platform into the de facto default option for online shoppers.
“Evidence shows that even the most highly ranked rival service appears on average only on page four of Google’s search results, and others appear even further down,” the Commission said in…