It's not the first legal battle that ride-sharing app Uber has had to fight since its founding in 2011, but Wednesday's decision by the European Union is being hailed as a landmark case as the court widens its scrutiny of online businesses.
The court redefined Uber as a taxi service, after Elite Service, a professional association of taxi drivers in Barcelona, Spain, filed a complaint claiming that Uber's business practices are "misleading" and "unfair." UberPop, which matches nonprofessional drivers with riders, has been suspended in Spain and several other European countries.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said that Uber "must be regarded as being inherently linked to a transport service and, accordingly, must be classified as 'a service in the field of transport' within the meaning of EU law."
Taxi drivers broke out in cheers and Tweeted their victory, declaring, "Today taxi drivers have beaten Goliath."
Wednesday's decision also sets the pace for more regulatory scrutiny into the "gig" economy in Europe, according to this 2015 report from the World Bank.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.