Google Loses Its Appeal & Must Pay €4.1Billion EU Penalty

An EU court has imposed a record fine against Google for using the Android platform to cement its search engine's dominance.

The EU has upheld a 2018 antitrust charge against Google, confirming that the company imposed “unlawful restrictions” on Android phone manufacturers in order to promote its search engine on mobile devices. Consequently, Google has lost its appeal against a record €4.34bn EU competition fine for using the dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system to thwart competition.

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.”

The €4.125bn (£3.5bn) penalty is the largest anti-trust fine ever handed down by the European Commission.

It said Google had breached its laws by forcing Android phone-makers to carry its search and web browser apps in order to access the Google Play Store in 2018. Google has since changed its terms and the firm said it was disappointed by the verdict. "Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world," Google said in a statement.

The earlier fine by the European Commission in 2018 and was massive fine and biggest for Google. It said that around 80% of Europeans used Android and that Google gave an unfair advantage to its apps, such as Chrome and Search, by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install them in a bundle with its app store, Play.

Google says that Android phones are in competition with Apple phones, which use its iOS operating system, and that using Android still allows consumers a choice of phone maker, mobile network operator, and the opportunity to remove Google apps and install others.

Google acquired the mobile phone operating system developer, which today powers roughly 70% of the world's mobile phones, in 2005 for $50m (£43m). The European General Court partially reduced the EU fine in its final ruling on Google's appeal. It said this was to reflect "the gravity and the duration" of the infringement.

The court's ruling reinforces  up the European Commission's efforts to clamp down on Big Tech, after anti-trust fines against Intel and Qualcomm were quashed by the European General Court earlier this year.

Reuters:     Bloomberg:    BEUC:      BBC:     

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