The winners are as follows: Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, may breathe a sigh of relief now that the first of her three judgments against Google has been maintained. (The company’s Android software will be the subject of the next court ruling, which is due next year.) Smaller shopping search providers that have fought Google for years have reason to rejoice as well.
“While we are pleased with today’s decision, it does not undo the significant consumer and anti-competitive harm caused by Google’s insidious search manipulation practices over the past decade,” Shivaun Raff, co-founder of price comparison startup Foundem, which filed the first complaint in this case, said.
Companies that provide search services in other areas, such as local listings and travel, are also winners. Many of these companies had filed similar complaints about Google’s tactics and were waiting for the court’s judgment on the appeal in the hopes that it would prompt the European Commission to launch separate probes into their industries as well.
The judgment on Wednesday “establishes a framework for the rapid examination of the illegality of this sort of behavior in other verticals,” according to Luther Lowe, senior vice president of public policy at Yelp, one of the companies keen to have its case reviewed in Brussels.
The losers: Google, to be precise. The corporation may appeal Wednesday’s ruling to Europe’s top court, but experts predict that the justices would only decide in its favor on obscure legal matters.
Google said in a statement that it had previously created a mechanism that allowed competitors to show in Google searches anytime someone typed in a shopping inquiry. “For more than three years, our strategy has generated billions of clicks for more than 700 comparison shopping businesses,” the company stated.