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Google Owner Accuses EU of Antitrust About-Face

BRUSSELS—Google owner Alphabet Inc. GOOGL 1.40 % accused European Union regulators of making an unexplained about-face in their decision to file antitrust charges against the U.S. search giant, and warned that there was “no basis” for imposing fines, according to a redacted copy of Google’s response seen by The Wall Street Journal.

The response, which runs to almost 130 pages and leans heavily on legal opinions and case law, suggests that Google is gearing up for a protracted legal battle against the European Commission, which has alleged the search giant skewed search results to favor its own comparison-shopping service.

“The theory on which the [EU’s] preliminary conclusions rest is so ambiguous that the Commission itself concluded three times that the concern had been resolved,” Google’s lawyers wrote in the document.

A Google spokesman declined to comment.

The commission recently sent the document to complainants in the case after heavy editing to remove commercially sensitive material.

The EU’s demands, Google argues, amount “to a demand that we sacrifice quality to subsidize competitors.”

The European Commission declined to comment. In an interview last month with The Wall Street Journal, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said her agency was analyzing Google’s response. “It is high priority, but it will take some time” to carry out data comparisons, Ms. Vestager said.

EU regulators in April became the first globally to file formal antitrust charges against Google. The move followed a five-year...


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