Google have announced they are appealing the $1.7 billion antitrust fine handed to them by the European Commission for its "abusive practices in online advertising."
An EC representative has reached out to CNBC saying “the Commission will defend its decision in Court,” after Google confirmed their appeal.
Why were Google fined?
In March, the European Union's executive arm handed the search company a fine for advertising violations — its third antitrust fine. The tech giant was fined for abusing the practical monopoly in the online advertising market it had acquired through its AdSense business.
Under the EU's antitrust rules, the bloc said Google were "illegally" restricting online search advertisements from competitors.
Google, and big tech companies in general, are facing increased regulations internationally. The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly planning an antitrust investigation into Google.
Shares for Alphabet, Google's parent company, have fallen by about 5% since the news of the Justice Department investigation was first reported last week.
In the last 3 years, the EU has handed Google two other fines, of almost $8 billion combined, for anti-competitive practices carried out with Android devices and its comparison shopping service. These were also appealed.
Google makes the majority of its revenue through advertising. This is something that has been at the center of the recent antitrust fine as well as data scandals — such as the 2018's admission by Google that they gave hundreds of firms access to Gmail inboxes.
Alternatives to Google may benefit from a downturn in public opinion over the company's recent practices. Starpage, for example, use Google's search while removing trackers and logs that lead to targeted ads and private data storage. Brave, meanwhile, have created a browser that blocks trackers.
Google's appeal is just another chapter in a saga that has seen the company fined billions by the European Commission, and is a sign of the increased demand for accountability of tech corporations.