A Google lawyer has rejected the European Union’s (EU) market abuse ruling, claiming that “consumers aren’t stupid.” The US-based tech biggie had been fined a record $5 billion by the EU, something it is currently contesting in courts.
Anti-competitive Deals to Consolidate Market Presence
Wrapping up a week of testimony, the company’s lawyer has said that consumers have continued to use Google’s products not because of any anticompetitive practices, but because they know that it’s the “best.”
The European Commission had slammed a fine worth €4.34 billion ($5 billion) back in 2018, accusing it of trying to thwart rivals through its Android operating system, and consolidating its dominance in the internet searching space from as early as 2011.
The EU had apparently taken issue with certain contracts that allowed Google to force phone makers into pre-installing certain Google apps, including Google Play and Google’s own Search application and the Chrome browser, while also completely blocking some Android variants.
Opposing Sides to the Same Story
During a testimony to the EU’s General Court, lawyer Meredith Pickford has said that billions of users across the globe continue to use Google as their search tool, but that’s not because of an “abuse of dominance.” The defense also claims that the deals weren’t really anti-competitive, and instead, were merely put in place to assure that the tech giant continues to remain in competition.
The lawyer further argued that Google’s rivals can still continue to “compete hard and compete on merits,” adding that users are not “stupid.” She went on to say that people would, of their own account, turn to other search engines like Bing, had they been better than Google itself. Interestingly, the firm has also said that the most searched keyword on Bing happens to be none other than “Google,” claiming the same to be another testimony to the trust people worldwide put in Google Search alone.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Khan, the European Commission’s lawyer, has argued that the deals show how the industry giant has been “stacking the odds” in its own favor, and has also urged judges to support the decision of the Commission.
Khan has said that the sheer “scale” of the measures the Sundar Pichai-led firm took to ensure its superiority “entirely justify” the fine that was imposed upon it.
At the time, it is not known when the verdict on the case will be issued.
News Source: Business Line