American Giant Google failed on Wednesday in its attempt to overturn a record 4,300 million euros fine ($4,304 million) imposed by the European Union in 2018, misusing the dominant position of the Android mobile operating system.
“The action taken by Google is essentially rejected”The General Court of the European Union ruled.
However, the court considered it “appropriate” to reduce the amount of the fine to 4,125 million euros (4,129 million dollars).
The wholesale reasons were, first, forcing Android device manufacturers to install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser in exchange for granting them a license to the Play Store, the company’s mobile app store.
Second, it prevented companies that wanted to sell mobile phones and tablets with Google apps from installing alternative versions of the operating system on mobile devices, known as “Android forks”.
And finally, to subject a part of Google’s advertising revenue to manufacturers and mobile operators to the fact that they have not installed any other search engine alternative to Google search.
The penalty fee remains The largest in the history of the European Uniondespite Google’s arguments that the commission’s case is unfounded and falsely based on allegations that it forced the Chrome search engine and browser on Android phones.
The penalty is one of three antitrust sanctions totaling more than $8 billion that the European Commission imposed on Google between 2017 and 2019.
On the appeal, the company also insisted that the EU was oblivious to the case of Apple, which forces or gives a clear preference for its own services, such as the Safari browser on iPhones.
Google argued that downloading competing apps was just a click away and that customers were not in any way limited by Google’s Android products.
The European Union and the whistleblower responded that Google used contracts with phone makers in the early days of Android to crush its competitors.
Google expressed disappointment with the ruling. “We are disappointed that the court did not overturn the decision in its entirety,” the company said in a statement.
The general court decision is not necessarily the end of the story. The parties can turn to the highest court in the European Union, the Court of Justice of the European Union, to have the final say on the fine.
The Android case was the third of three major cases brought by the European Competition Commissioner’s team, Margrethe Vestager, against Google.
(With information from the AFP, EFE, and AP)