In a significant setback for Google, Europe’s top court received a strong recommendation on Thursday to uphold the €2.42 billion ($2.7 billion) antitrust fine imposed by the European Union in 2017. Juliane Kokott, Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union, delivered the advisory opinion, asserting that the fine should be confirmed, dealing a blow to the world’s most popular internet search engine, reported CNN.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, imposed the hefty fine on Google, owned by Alphabet, citing allegations that the tech giant exploited its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals. The fine was a result of Google allegedly leveraging its dominant position in the market for general search services to favor its own comparison shopping service.

Kokott stated, “Google … was leveraging its dominant position on the market for general search services to favor its own comparison shopping service by favoring the display of its results.” This assertion supports the European Commission’s findings and could have far-reaching implications for Google’s business practices in the European market.

Despite Google’s spokesperson expressing the company’s commitment to investing in their remedy, which has reportedly been working successfully for several years, the final decision rests in the hands of the judges at the Court of Justice. While judges usually follow such non-binding recommendations, the ruling is expected in the coming months.

Read more: Google’s US Ad Antitrust Suit Trial Date Set For March 2024

In the face of this antitrust challenge, Google remains embroiled in legal disputes with the European Union. The company has also contested two other EU rulings, one involving its Android mobile operating system and the other relating to its AdSense advertising service.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager is scheduled to meet with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and other prominent figures from the tech industry in the United States later on Thursday to discuss various issues concerning competition and the digital landscape. This meeting comes at a crucial time, as regulatory scrutiny of major tech companies intensifies globally.

Google’s legal battles with the European Union underscore the growing tensions between tech giants and regulators, as authorities seek to ensure fair competition and protect smaller players in the market. The outcome of these legal challenges will undoubtedly shape the future of Google’s operations in the European market.