Antitrust

Google takes fight over record antitrust fine to EU courts

Google's logo
Google's logo
Photo: Reuters

(Bloomberg) Google took its fight over a record European Union antitrust fine to the EU courts, starting a legal challenge that could take years to conclude.

The owner of the world’s largest search engine said it filed its appeal on Monday at the EU’s General Court, based in Luxembourg. The tribunal’s press service said Google hadn’t asked the court to suspend an EU order for it to change how it displays shopping-search services before it rules on the challenge.

EU judges are the ultimate arbiter of EU antitrust regulators who’ve often received support for their attempts to curb large companies’ behavior. Justice grinds slowly and any ruling from the General Court can also be appealed at the bloc’s highest tribunal, the EU Court of Justice.

Intel waited eight years for a ruling on its legal challenge to a 2009 fine only to be told last week that the General Court must re-examine the case.

Google has already submitted a rough draft to regulators over changes it must make by September 28 to avoid further fines, which should include giving equal treatment to rivals. That order came with a €2.4 billion fine, more than double the €1.06 billion for Intel.

Regulators are also expected to levy fines in separate investigations into Google’s Android mobile-phone software -- possibly as soon as next month -- and the AdSense advertising service. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, has also threatened further probes on travel or map services.

The European Commission said "it will defend its decision in court," while Google declined to comment on details of its appeal.

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