September 12, 2017 // 11:14 a.m.
Google has confirmed it is fighting an antitrust fine levied by the European Union earlier this year totalling a whopping €2.42 billion (around £2.18 billion), following the news that Intel had received the green light for its own appeal.
Last week the Court of Justice of the European Union (CURIA) green-lit Intel's appeal against its 2009 antitrust judgement which had seen the General Court fine the company an at-the-time record of €1.06 billion (around £970 million). In its ruling, Curia agreed that the General Court's failure to apply the 'as efficient competitor test' (AEC test) could have led to an error in law, leaving the window open for Intel to appeal the fine.
Now Google has filed its own appeal against the still-record-breaking €2.42 billion (around £2.18 billion) fine it received from the General Court over its own alleged anti-competitive practices. The fine was handed down following an investigation by the European Union Antitrust Commission into the Google Shopping service: According to the Commission's findings Google was both happily accepting money to push results up the list whether or not they represented the best value as you would expect from a service positioning itself for price comparison purposes and also leaking those same paid-for results in highly-visible thumbnail form into general search - again pushing those who were unwilling to pay down the list.
'We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,' a Google spokesperson offered in a brief statement to press at the time. 'We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.'
That continuance is now here, with Google filing an official appeal. Whether successful or not, the appeal has at least given the company a stay of execution: The complexity of the case and the sums of money involved mean that it's unlikely that a ruling on the appeal will arrive from the General Court this side of 2020. This delay will only affect payment of the fine, however, with the September 28th deadline for Google to cease its allegedly-anti-competitive practices by modifying how it displays search results still very much in effect.