Google challenges record European antitrust fine in court

EU's Margrethe Vestager the Dane Who Is Google's Bane

Google challenges record European antitrust fine in court

Google on Monday appealed the record $2.9 billion antitrust fine it got slapped with this summer by European regulators over manipulating its Internet search results.

When the fine was issued, Europe's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said: "What Google has done is illegal under European Union antitrust rules".

And while the two cases are clearly different - and the Intel verdict remains a partial one at this stage (the sanction has not been overturned as yet) - it's certainly unusual for Europe's courts to rule against Commission verdicts, offering some hope to Google's lawyers they can successful argue against the regulator's rationale.

Spokesperson for the commission said it will defend its decision in court.

Google is required to stop the offending practices by September 28th or face additional fines that could amount to five percent of Alphabet's daily average worldwide revenue. This appeal is not suspensive; Google will therefore have to pay the fine.

Brussels accuses Google of giving its own service too much priority in search results to the detriment of other price comparison services, such as TripAdvisor and Expedia.

The fine handed to Google was a significant hike on the previous record penalty of €1.06bn (£937m) dished out by the commission to USA microchip firm Intel in 2009. That order came with a 2.4 billion euro ($2.9 billion) fine, more than double the 1.06 billion euros for Intel.

The EU is also investigating whether Google tried to squeeze out its rivals in online search advertising and through its Android mobile operating system.

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