Bad news for Google in Europe, after ratify a 2018 ruling for abuse of dominant position with Android and a fine of more than 4,000 million euros. Today, the General Court of the European Union announced the confirmation “to a great extent” of the decision, although it slightly reduced the amount of the economic punishment that those of Mountain View must face.
The original antitrust investigation yielded several points that served the European Commission to base its charges against Google. After all, the Californian company forced Android mobile manufacturers to pre-install their applications to access the Play Store, and even paid them -as well as mobile operators- to favor their products. In addition, it prohibited brands from producing models with third-party operating systems based on Android.
In 2018, Android already boasted a market share of 80% in Europe. This, according to regulators, gave Google a free hand to adopt “illegal tactics” with which it limited the actions of rival companies.
According to public the General Court of the European Union in the last hours, most of the original charges stood. However, there was a slight modification to the final amount of the fine that Google must face. The authorities have rectified their stance on revenue-sharing schemes between Californians and Android phone makers, and no longer consider them to be an abuse of power. Thus, the economic punishment went from 4,343 million euros to 4,125 million euros. The story does not change too much despite this cut of around 5%, of course.
Google and Europe continue in an eternal battle
Those in Mountain View still have the option of appeal the ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union. In any case, they must wait two months and ten days to address this possibility. This means that the resolution of this crossover between Google and European regulators may still be a long way off. After all, four years have passed and the parties involved are still in the discussion.
Let’s not forget, furthermore, that Google and the EU have been in a legal battle for years, beyond this particular case. In 2016, for example, the European Commission fined it more than 2,000 million euros for abuse of a dominant position through Shopping, its product purchase service. Punishment that was only confirmed in November 2021.
Over the past year, regulators have also had Californians — and Meta — under scrutiny for their ad business, and potential conflict points have even been raised over their use of the Google Assistant.
Going back to the affirmation of the abuse of dominant position ruling with Android, Google expressed its displeasure in a statement. “We are disappointed that the Court has not overturned the decision in its entirety. Android has created more options for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world,” the company said.