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Symposium on Google Search (Shopping) Decision ∙ Duty to Treat Downstream Rivals Equally:

(Merely) a Natural Remedy to Google’s Monopoly Leveraging Abuse

Thomas Hoppner


Google has argued that, in its comparison shopping decision, the European Commission created a novel rule that a dominant company may not favour its own services. Such a rule, it is claimed, would only be justified where the company provided an ‘indispensable service’ as defined in the narrow case law on refusals to deal. This argument, however, confuses the identified abuse with the imposed remedy. The Commission imposed the obligation, to treat rival services like its own services, as a remedy. This remedy does not address a corresponding abusive discrimination or refusal to deal, but effectively brings a monopoly leveraging to an end. Google’s self-promotion is abusive only because it also fulfils long-established criteria for an anti-competitive extension of dominance from a primary market to a distinct, but related, secondary market. An ‘indispensable service’ is not required for this type of abuse.

Prof Dr Thomas Hoppner, Professor of Business Law at Technical University Wildau; Visiting Professor for Telecoms Law at University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; Partner at Hausfeld RA LLP, Berlin. For correspondence: <>.


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