EU General Court Upholds Anti-trust Ruling Against Google But Reduces Fine
The European Union’s General Court on Wednesday found correct an anti-trust ruling against Google’s parent company, Alphabet, but brought down the fine to 4.125 billion euros or $4.12 billion from 4.34 billion euros.
The dispute between Google and the EU courts was on the subject of whether it uses the Android operating system to quash competition, and began in 2015.
The court said it “largely confirms the European Commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine.”
In a statement to CNBC, Google said: “We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.”
The first fine was set by the European Commission in 2018 and was the biggest ever for the company. Around 80 percent Europeans used Android and the allegations are that Google gave its apps, like Chrome and Search advantage, by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install them with its app store, Play.
Google counters this allegation by saying that Android phones are pitted against Apple phones, which use its iOS operating system, and using Android gives customers a choice of phone maker, mobile network operator, and the chance to remove Google apps and install others.
In Wednesday’s hearing, the General Court said the new fine was “appropriate in view of the significance of the infringement.”
The Court said that Google’s business model “is based first and foremost on increasing the numbers of users of its online search services so that it can sell its online advertising services,” whereas Apple focuses on the sale of higher-end smart mobile devices.
The company can still file against the ruling in the EU’s highest court.
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