Google will appeal a record EU antitrust fine for suffocating competition through its Android operating system dominance to a top European Union court on Monday. The firm is appealing a judgment by the EU’s executive Commission, the bloc’s top antitrust enforcer, in 2018 that resulted in a 4.34 billion-euro (USD 5 billion) punishment, which is still the largest ever fine issued by Brussels for anticompetitive activity.
Between 2017 and 2019, the EU slapped Google with three antitrust fines totaling more than USD 8 billion. The other businesses specialized in shopping and seeking, but the California firm caters to all three.
Despite the fact that the fines were significant, opponents claim that Google can simply pay them and that the fines have had little effect on increasing competition.
The commission stated in its original ruling that Google’s tactics stifle competition and limit consumer choice. Google, on the other hand, intends to claim that the open-source Android operating system has resulted in lower-cost phones and increased competition with Apple.
Android has given people more options, not less, and has helped thousands of businesses in Europe and throughout the world succeed.
As the five-day trial before the European Court of Justice’s General Court begins, the corporation stated that the complaint is not supported by facts or law.
The European Commission did not respond to a request for comment.
Android is the most prevalent mobile operating system in Europe, surpassing Apple’s iOS, and is installed on four out of every five smartphones.
The Commission found that Google violated EU regulations by compelling smartphone manufacturers to take a bundle of Google apps if they wanted any, and prohibiting them from selling smartphones with modified versions of Android.
The package includes 11 applications, including YouTube, Maps, and Gmail, but regulators concentrated on the three with the most market share: Google Search, Chrome, and the company’s app store, Play Store.
Because Android is open-source and free, Google believes that phone makers and users may choose which apps to put on their devices.
Because Google is the sole company responsible for creating and supporting Android, it must find a method to recuperate its expenditures. Its answer is to add revenue-generating apps, such as Search and Chrome.
The business also claims that just because its apps are pre-installed on Android phones doesn’t mean consumers can’t download competing apps.
Google’s payments to wireless carriers and phone manufacturers to exclusively pre-install the Google Search app were also criticized by the Commission. However, Google said that because the transactions accounted for less than 5% of the market, they couldn’t reasonably harm competitors.
Following the judgment, Google made several modifications to address the concerns, including offering European Android users the option of using a different browser and search app, as well as charging device makers to pre-install its programmes.