Google has lost its appeal in an EU antitrust case. The EU court has upheld the record fine, which was issued against the company for breaching competition laws.
Since the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act were introduced last year, tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple have faced large fines – and this is the largest so far.
The European Commission fined Google €4.125bn in total, making it the largest antitrust penalty ever given. It alleges that the company used the Android platform to cement the dominance of its search engine.
According to the Commission, Google breached EU competition laws by making all Android phones use their own search engine and web browser app to be able to access the Google Play Store. These terms were introduced in 2018 and have since been changed.
The Android operating system currently powers around 70% of the world’s mobile phones and was acquired by Google in 2005 for $50 million.
After Google appealed the decision, the European Court reduced the original fine slightly but insisted that the penalty would remain in place due to “the gravity and the duration” of the case.
The court upheld the Commission’s ruling and agreed that the restrictions placed on Android device manufacturers by Google were unlawful.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said it will “carefully study the judgment and decide on possible next steps” to prevent similar cases in the future.
In a press release, the European Consumer Organization said that the ruling “confirms that Europe’s consumers must enjoy a meaningful choice between search engines and browsers on their phones and tablets”.
They added that this will provide more choice for consumers, adding: “If they preferred, for example, to use more innovative and privacy-friendly services, Google’s restrictions prevented them from doing so.”
In a statement, Google said: “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.”
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