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

A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken July 9, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
LUXEMBOURG, Oct 1 (Reuters) – 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 U.S. tech giant fights a record $5 billion antitrust fine.
The European Commission hit Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) 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.
"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 (MSFT.O) 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)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Apple's recent privacy changes for iPhones are signs it may look to tap into an internet advertising market dominated by Facebook and Google, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets said.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets – delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved

source