Google responds to the EU’s antitrust charges

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has formally responded to European Union accusations that it abuses its dominant position with its internet shopping and advertising services, ramping up its fight back against the bloc’s regulators.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is digging its heels in against the bloc’s accusations that it abuses its dominance and has shut out rivals in various markets with a number of its products.

The EU’s antitrust charges potentially expose Google to billions of euros in fines and demands that overhaul its operations at a time when the Silicon Valley giant is also grappling with a barrage of other legal fights in Europe.

Natalia Drozdiak and Sam Schechner report that Google have again defended the way it places retailers’ ads for products on some of its search results by saying there is no evidence that those ads hurt price-comparison websites. The company’s core argument contends that in its investigation, the commission didn’t use a big enough set of sample sites, and argues that on mobile devices, the majority of consumers shop with dedicated apps anyway.

In response, a European Commission spokeswoman has said that it had received the company’s replies, adding that it would consider the responses carefully before taking any decision.

In separate charges, put forward in July, the EU also accused Google of breaching EU antitrust rules by restricting how a website that offers a Google search function can show advertisements sold by other companies.

Alphabet is also expected to issues a response to another set of charges issued in April over the tech giant’s conduct with its Android mobile operating service – allegations that threaten to undermine how Google makes money from mobile devices.

In a period of regulatory standoffs between tech behemoths and government institutions, Google is very much at the centre of the stage and faces a potentially long legal fight with the EU and other regulators in the region.