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Google Picks a Fight with the EU over Its AdSense Fine


Jun. 10 2019, Updated 1:06 p.m. ET

Google appeals $1.7 billion fine

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google has appealed the fine that the European Union’s antitrust office slapped on it recently, according to a report from the Telegraph. After years of investigation, the agency concluded that Google’s advertising practices tied to its AdSense product had violated the bloc’s antitrust law. As a result, the agency fined Google $1.7 billion.

Google denies wrongdoing and has now appealed to the General Court of the European Union in Brussels to try to overturn the decision and the associated fine. The company is also appealing two other fines that the EU antitrust agency has slapped on it. In 2017, the agency hit Google with a nearly $3.0 billion fine on charges that its online shopping service had stifled competition. In 2018, the agency hit Google with a record $5.0 billion fine on charges that the way the company had licensed its Android software and related apps violated the European Union’s competition laws. Google is appealing these fines as well.

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Google is keen to save billions

Google has set aside close to $10 billion to cover the European Union’s antitrust fines. If the company succeeds in overturning the fines, it could put the funds to more important uses, such as building more data centers to expand its cloud computing capacity.

Alphabet finished the first quarter with $113.5 billion in its cash reserve. Apple, Microsoft (MSFT), and Facebook (FB) finished the first quarter sitting on cash reserves of $225 billion, $131.6 billion, and $45.2 billion, respectively. Amazon (AMZN) and Alibaba (BABA) finished the first quarter with cash reserves of $23.5 billion and $28.8 billion, respectively.


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