EU: Google files appeal over €2.4b fine

Google has launched its appeal against Brussels in a fightback over its record monopoly abuse fine. The search giant has filed an appeal to the European Commission over its €2.4bn (US$2.7 billion) antitrust penalty.

The Commission hit Google with the fine in June after finding the company had illegally abused the dominance of its search engine to promote its online shopping over smaller comparison sites. Google is facing further multi-billion euro fines from the Commission over its Android software and online advertising network.

The company filed its appeal following a victory for Intel in a separate competition case. Europe’s highest court last week said a €1.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) fine against Intel, levied in 2009, should be re-examined.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is investigating Google in three cases, as well as tech giants Apple, Facebook and Qualcomm.

The €2.4 billion fine (US$2.7 billion, at the time it was levied) against Google for illegally exploiting its 90% search market share led to its parent company Alphabet’s profits falling by 30% in July. Google said it “respectfully disagreed” with the EU decision.

Brussels’ war against tech companies has included orders to pay large fines and unpaid tax bills. It has drawn criticism from US politicians who have accused the EU of protectionism and bias.

Google has had to change its search results or face further fines worth 50% of its turnover. The company must implement plans it submitted in August by the end of this month. Vestager said the proposals pointed “in the very right direction”, but the company will be closely monitored for a number of years.

Decisions in the Android mobile software and AdSense advertising cases are expected later this year.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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