Google has appealed against the record $2.7 billion antitrust fine imposed by the European Union (EU) back in June for breaching its rules by abusing the monopoly it enjoys over internet search. The Luxembourg-based general court, Europe’s second-highest, is expected to take several years before ruling on Google’s appeal, the Guardian reported on Monday. In the investigation spanning seven years, Google was accused of manipulating its search engine results to favour its new shopping service at the expense of smaller price-comparison websites.
The European Commission had said that Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service. In June, the EU official in-charge of competition policy, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said what Google had done was illegal under EU antitrust rules. “It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation,” Vestager said.
According to Google, its entry into online shopping space has been good for consumers and retailers, and argues that it was not a monopoly player in online shopping. “When the Commission asks why some comparison websites have not done as well as others, we think it should consider the many sites that have grown in this period — including platforms like Amazon and eBay,” a Google spokesperson said after the EU slapped the mammoth fine on the technology giant.