07:13, June 27 717 0

2017-06-27 07:13:08
Clifford Chance and Cleary act as Google is fined $2.7bn

Clifford Chance and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton have acted in a case which has seen Google hit with a $2.7bn (£2.1bn) fine from the European Commission for abusing its position to promote its own shopping service.

FairSearch, a coalition of online consumer search aggregators, brought the case against Google which now has 90 days to end its anti-competitive practice or face fines of up to five per cent of parent company Alphabet’s daily average turnover.

Clifford Chance partner and chairman of its global antitrust group Thomas Vinje co-led with Dieter Paeman in the case for FairSearch.

Covington partner Miranda Cole also acted for FairSearch members Expedia, TripAdvisor and Trivago.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised Google on with a team led by partners Maurits Dolmans, Thomas Graf and Robbert Snelders.

The decision follows an announcement in July last year where the commission confirmed its belief that Google had “abused its dominant position by systemically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search results pages”.

FairSearch argued that Google had abused its power for over a decade and that this decision will see better competition in online retail and give consumers the best range of choice.

Vinje said: “For over a decade Google has abused and leveraged its monopoly power in search – where it has a 95 per cent market share in Europe – to both undermine rival comparison shopping sites and to preference its own online shopping business.”

“The Commission’s decision will finally put a stop to that abusive conduct, and it will enable those competitors that have survived despite Google’s behaviour, as well as new entrants, to compete on the merits and offer results that serve European consumers and not just Google.”

Two years ago, Clifford Chance was hit by a change in Google’s algorithms penalising it, and a number of other firms, for failing to develop mobile-friendly websites.