ANTITRUST

Google Appeals European Commission’s $1.7B Fine

Google Appeals European Commission's $1.7B Fine

Google has appealed the European Commission’s $1.7 billion fine, which was issued March for anti-competitive behaviors in the online advertising market.

CNBC, citing Google, reported the appeal was filed in the General Court of the European Union in Brussels. The Telegraph first reported the development. A European Commission spokesperson said the Commission plans to defend its ruling in court.

The $1.7 billion fine, the third for Google levied by the European Union, centered on what the EU said was the firm’s abuse of its dominant position in the search engine market and efforts by Google to block companies that sell text ads based on rivals’ search results. This fine is smaller than the combined $7.67 billion the EU has fined Google in the past two instances. The latest fine is expected to be the last one against Google, ending a near 10-year investigation.

Google said it has already made changes to address the Commission’s concerns, with more coming in the next few months.

The action in Europe comes amid increased scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. Earlier this week, Reuters reported the Justice of Department is launching an investigation into Google to ascertain whether it engaged in antitrust practices. Sources said the investigation will focus on whether Google gave its owned businesses preference in search queries. The potential antitrust inquiry stems from complaints from internet companies including Yelp and TripAdvisor, which say Google favors its own services in search results. Google contends it is transparent about promoting its own services and doesn’t favor any businesses, and is focused on benefiting its users.

Google had already settled with the FTC back in 2013. That was seen as a victory for Google, which only required to make little changes to its business practices. In 2017, Google settled with the EU, agreeing to pay $2.7 billion. The EU contended Google steered business toward its eCommerce sites over rivals.

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