Google has lost its appeal over illegal Android app bundling against the European Union even though the government has now reduced the record-breaking €4.3 billion fine to €4.1 billion.
The EU upheld the 2018 antitrust charge against the search giant while confirming the company imposed “unlawful restrictions” on Android phone manufacturers in order to promote its search engine on mobile devices.
Ever since 2018, Google has been trying to appeal the charges after it was fined €4.3 billion.
With Google losing the case once again, this will further strengthen the EU’s antitrust advocates led y Margrethe Vestager.
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The point is that Google forces smartphone manufacturers to pre-install its set of applications alongside the Play Store service.
Back in 2018, Google was found to have abused its market dominance by forcing Android smartphone makers to restrict how they sold their devices.
Manufacturers had to agree not to sell phones using variant versions of Android popularly known as the “Fork version”.
This version of Android isn’t approved by Google and doesn’t have Google Mobile service pre-installed.
Considering the fact that nearly all Android phone makers across the globe make use of the GMS-enabled Android, Google’s Search and Chrome apps often get pre-installed on these devices.
In other cases, Google pays phone makers and mobile operators to exclusively install Google search on devices as part of a revenue-sharing scheme.
According to the EU’s analysis, Google saw the rise of smartphones as an existential threat to its search business which was initially desktop-based, and then armed phone makers into making its search engine front-and-center on their devices.
Google on the other hand focused on a number of arguments, including that the Commission incorrectly judged the company to be dominant in the mobile market (because iOS exists), and that its actions were necessary to stop the Android ecosystem fragmenting into many incompatible operating systems. (To which the Commission replies: incompatible or not, fostering rival mobile OSes is exactly the desired outcome of a competitive market.)
The General Court’s ruling upheld the majority of the EU’s original charges even though it did find that Google’s revenue-sharing schemes with manufacturers did not constitute an abuse of the company’s market dominance which promoted the Court to reduce the find by about 5% (€4.1B from €4.3B).
Today’s decision comes from the EU’s second-highest court, the General Court, meaning that Google can appeal this decision yet again with the bloc’s highest court, the Court of Justice. Google now has to wait two months and ten days before it can appeal once more.
In a statement from a spokesperson, 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