Google to appeal to EU's €2.9bn fine

Google will appeal the EU fine of €2.9 billion for abusing its dominant position in the market, reports have claimed.

The US giant was fined earlier this year for abusing its monopoly in search engine and shopping comparison services. Google said it respected the EU Commission's ruling, but that it disagrees.

A spokesman for the EU commission said: “The commission will defend its decision in court,” however it is expected to take years for the Luxembourg-based general court to rule on Google's appeal.

The European Commission fined Google on June 27 this year in what is the largest ever fine imposed on a company for infringing EU competition law.

Google did say it will comply with the changes to vertical search, as Brussels requested. However, if it doesn't do so before September ends (September 28 is the deadline), the EU can fine the company five per cent of its daily revenue, each day.

The investigation about vertical search stated in November 2010, with the Competition Commissioner at the time, Joaquin Almunia, wanting to avoid formal investigations and potential fines. However, after Google 'fixed' the issue by turning search placements into a pay-to-play auction, critics became even louder. Once Margarethe Vestager became Competition Commissioner, Google was eventually fined.

Google, on the other hand, argued that the EU's interpretation of competition law is wrong.

“All of these services – search engines, price comparison sites, merchant platforms, and merchants – compete with each other in online shopping. That’s why online shopping is so dynamic and has grown so much in recent years,” Google's senior VP and general counsel Kent Walker wrote late last year.

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