Google appeals against huge European Union anti-trust fine

EU's Margrethe Vestager the Dane Who Is Google's Bane

European Union judges are the ultimate arbiter of European Union antitrust regulators who've often received support for their attempts to curb large companies' behavior.

The EU's competition commission had ruled that Google abused its dominant position to favor its own shopping comparison service in internet searches, ordering the company to stop the practice by September 28.

At the time of the ruling, Europe's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said Google's strategy for attracting customers to its online shopping service was not just about being better than rivals.

Lodging the appeal does not suspend the fine, meaning Google is still obliged to pay up, though it can put the money in a blocked account until the decision is reached.

And while the two cases are clearly different - and the Intel verdict remains a partial one at this stage (the sanction has not been overturned as yet) - it's certainly unusual for Europe's courts to rule against Commission verdicts, offering some hope to Google's lawyers they can successful argue against the regulator's rationale.

Google is now set for a legal showdown in Brussels that could take years to resolve, and add further strain on already tense relations between the company and the EU.

The EU's enforcement wing, the European Commission, issued the massive penalty in June, accusing Google of boosting its own comparative shopping tool in its search results at the expense of other services.

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. That order came with a 2.4 billion euro ($2.9 billion) fine, more than double the 1.06 billion euros for Intel.

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