Google Foes Get Chance to Pick Holes in $2.7 Billion EU Appeal

(Bloomberg) -- Some of Google’s oldest foes have been given the chance to take a swipe at the U.S. giant’s appeal of a $2.7 billion European Union antitrust fine for choking competition for shopping-search services.

The EU’s General Court said European consumer group BEUC, German magazine publishers and Foundem -- the first company to complain to the EU about how Google treats shopping rivals -- can all intervene in the case because they have a direct interest in the result. The decisions dated Dec. 17 were published online.

Google Foes Get Chance to Pick Holes in $2.7 Billion EU Appeal

In an antitrust order that went to the very nature of the Alphabet Inc. unit’s business, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said last year that the company abused its dominant market position by putting its own shopping service at the top of search results -- some of the best real estate on the internet. As well as slapping the company with a hefty fine it also ordered Google to stop undermining rivals.

Still, Google has also won the backing in its appeal by technology industry group Computer & Communications Industry Association, or CCIA, after the court decided that “there is a sufficiently close connection between CCIA’s objects and the issues raised in the present case.”

Google in similar decisions by the EU court on Dec. 7 won a bid to prevent local search service Yelp Inc. and advocacy group Consumer Watchdog from teaming up with the EU in the legal challenge.

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