'Consumers aren't stupid': Google lawyer rejects EU market abuse ruling

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Billions of people use Google because it's the best, not because of deals the company made to stay competitive, Google's lawyer said on Friday, wrapping up a week of testimony as the US tech giant fights a record $5 billion antitrust fine.

The European Commission hit Alphabet's Google with a 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine in 2018 for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals and cement its dominance in general internet searching from 2011.

At issue are deals requiring phone makers to pre-install the Google Search app and the Chrome browser app together with Google Play, as well deals blocking some variants of Android.

"The reason why billions of people choose Google as their search tool every day is not because of an abuse of dominance. It's because it's the best," lawyer Meredith Pickford told the EU's General Court, the bloc's second highest.

Pickford said the deals were far from being anti-competitive tools, rather they were to ensure Google stayed competitive.

READ HERE | Google wants record R78-billion Android fine overturned

"You can still compete hard and compete on the merits. Consumers aren't stupid. If Bing or another search engine were better than Google, people would turn to it," he said, referring to a rival Microsoft Corp search engine.

"Successful companies don't stay successful by resting on their laurels and failing to compete," Pickford told the court.

The European Commission's lawyer, Nicholas Khan, said the deals showed that Google had stacked the odds in its favour and urged judges to uphold the Commission's decision and fine.

"Google gives itself the laurel wreath even before the race has started," Khan said. "The scale of the practices entirely justify the fine that was imposed."

It was not clear when there will be a verdict in the case, which is T-604/18 Google vs European Commission.

($1 = 0.8637 euros)

Did you know you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.66
+0.6%
Rand - Pound
19.63
+1.0%
Rand - Euro
16.82
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.13
+0.6%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.3%
Gold
1,867.03
+0.7%
Silver
22.11
+1.4%
Palladium
2,006.99
+0.4%
Platinum
956.00
-0.3%
Brent Crude
113.42
+0.8%
Top 40
61,177
-1.0%
All Share
67,691
-1.0%
Resource 10
74,345
-0.4%
Industrial 25
71,771
-1.7%
Financial 15
15,802
-0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE