Google appeals record antitrust fine

The tech giant has rejected the €2.4bn ($2.87bn) antitrust sanction applied by European regulators in June

  • By Luján Scarpinelli | Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, addresses a press conference on the antitrust case against Google

On September 11, Google appealed a €2.4bn ($2.87bn) fine issued by the European Commission in June. The fine was imposed after the commission suspected the company had abused its market dominance by prioritising content in its search engine to benefit its own businesses.

Specifically, the sanction was levied because Google had placed its comparison-shopping service at the top of search rankings, discriminating against rivals and thus violating EU antitrust rules.

Now, as it promised in June when the penalty it incurred became public, Google is challenging European regulators.

The court ruling gave Google 90 days to overhaul its search results, and if it doesn’t change the practices that cost it the fine, regulators could impose further penalties

However, the decision won’t relieve the company of the economic burden, according to The Wall Street Journal; Google will have to adapt its practices to conform with EU rules. The court ruling gave Google 90 days to overhaul its search results, and if it doesn’t change the practices that cost it the fine, regulators could impose further penalties.

European authorities are willing to fight in the tribunals. A European Commission spokesman said: “The commission will defend its decision in court.” But the legal battle could take “several years”, taking into account previous cases, according to Reuters.

Google’s appeal came days after Intel’s appeal of a similar antitrust case was granted.

The decision was made eight years after Intel appealed a €1bn ($1.2bn) fine for allegedly using illegal sale practices to encourage computer manufacturers to carry its chips.

On September 6, the European Court of Justice said the decision would have to be revised by a lower tribunal.

Intel’s triumph could be a landmark case which might increase Google’s chances of success.