EU court backs antitrust ruling against Google but reduces fine

The European Union flag is seen with the Google logo.

Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The General Court of the European Union on Wednesday upheld an antitrust ruling against Google’s parent company Alphabet, but reduced its fine to 4.125 billion euros ($4.12 billion) from 4.34 billion euros.

The dispute between Google and the EU courts concerns whether it uses the Android operating system to nullify competition and was brought against the company in 2015.

The court said this “largely confirms the European Commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device manufacturers and mobile network operators to consolidate its search engine’s dominant position.”

In a statement provided to CNBC, Google said: “We are disappointed that the Court did not reverse the decision in its entirety. Android has created more choices for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of businesses prosperous in Europe and in the world”.

The the original fine was imposed by the European Commission in 2018 and was the largest ever received by Google. He said around 80% of Europeans use Android and that Google gave its apps, such as Chrome and Search, an unfair advantage by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install them in a bundle with its app store, Play.

Google argues that Android phones compete with Apple phones, which run its iOS operating system, and that using Android still allows consumers to choose the phone manufacturer, mobile network operator, and device. ability to remove Google apps and install new ones.

In Wednesdays judgementthe Tribunal said the new fine was “appropriate given the significance of the offence”.

He pointed out that Google’s business model “is primarily based on increasing the number of users of its online search services so that it can sell its online advertising services”, while Apple focuses on the sale of high-end smart mobile devices.

Google argues that this allows it to keep the majority of its services free.

The company can still appeal the decision to the EU’s highest court.

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