Google launches fresh appeal to overturn US$2.8b fine at top EU court

The logo of Google is seen on a building at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris September 1, 2020. — Reuters pic
The logo of Google is seen on a building at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris September 1, 2020. — Reuters pic

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PARIS, Jan 21 — Google is filing an appeal at the European Union’s top court against an earlier decision to uphold a US$2.8 billion (RM11.7 billion) antitrust fine, a spokesperson for the Alphabet unit said late on Thursday, the company’s second bid to overturn the penalty.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined the world’s most popular internet search engine in 2017 over the use of its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals.

The case was the first of three decisions that have seen Google rack up €8.25 billion in EU antitrust fines in the last decade.

In November, the EU’s General Court largely dismissed Google’s challenge against the fine, saying the European Commission correctly found the company’s practices harmed competition.

The judges in Luxembourg rejected the company’s argument that the presence of merchant platforms showed there was strong competition.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to appeal the General Court’s decision because we feel there are areas that require legal clarification from the European Court of Justice,” the Google spokesperson said in a statement.

“Irrespective of the appeal, we continue to invest in our remedy, which has been working successfully for several years, and will continue to work constructively with the European Commission.”

The court’s support in November could also strengthen Vestager’s hand in her investigations into Amazon, Apple and Facebook. — Reuters

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