Google’s EU Antitrust Appeal Hearings Scheduled For Feb.

Google’s EU Antitrust Appeal Hearings Scheduled

Google’s appeal against a $2.64 billion fine for antitrust practices in the EU will be heard by a court over a three-day period in February.

Reuters is reporting that Europe’s second-highest court will hear the case. Google and a tech lobbying group will bring their argument to the Luxembourg-based General Court. The European Commission will be represented by the country of Germany, as well as eight other companies.

The hearings are scheduled for Feb. 12-14, according to Richard Stables, chief executive of British price comparison site Kelkoo, which is on the EU’s side in the case.

The Commission accused Google two years ago of favoring its own search service over that of competitors, levying the fine to punish the search giant and help level the competition field. Google went to the General Court with its appeal, and is also appealing other antitrust decisions.

The British consumer group BEUC and price comparison site Foundem, which is the company that triggered the investigation with its complaints, are supporting the Commission. A French price comparison site called Twenga, the German publishing groups VDZ and BDZV, and the German comparison fashion site Visual Meta are all participating on the side of the Commission.

Google’s problems with antitrust practices are not exclusive to Europe. At the end of last month, Google’s plan to use a new internet protocol caught the attention of congressional antitrust investigators.

In a letter sent to the tech giant on Sept. 13, investigators for the House Judiciary Committee requested information about Google’s “decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption” of the protocol, which would encrypt internet traffic.

House investigators were concerned that the move would give Google an advantage over its rivals by making it harder for others to access consumer data. In addition, a source told The Wall Street Journal that the Justice Department has recently received complaints about the protocol change.



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