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Google: EU court confirms record €4 billion antitrust fine

September 14, 2022

A top European Court said it was largely upholding a record fine against Google that had been imposed by the European Commission in 2018. The penalty is a record amount for an antitrust violation.

The logo for Google LLC is seen at the Google Store, Chelsea, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 17, 2021.
Google also lost another case for violating antirust rules at the same court 10 months agoImage: Andrew Kelly/REUTERS

A top European court on Wednesday ruled that Google imposed "unlawful restrictions" on makers of Android mobile devices so it could consolidate the dominance of its search engine.

The European Commission, the principal enforcer of the European Union's competition rules, levied €4.34 ($​​4.8 billion) against Google over its Android mobile operation system in 2018.

The Commission, in 2018, said Google required certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators to exclusively pre-istall the Google search app on their devices, preventing mobile makers from selling phones with other versions of Android that weren't approved by Google.

Europe's second-highest court, the General Court, based in Luxembourg, said in the judgement it reduced the fine to €4.125 billion ($4.13 billion) after judges used a different reasoning from the Commission.

"The General Court largely confirms the Commission's decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine," the judges said.

Google challenges EU antitrust fine 

In September last year, Google challenged the European Commission's fine, calling it staggering and inappropriate.

Even though the fine stands reduced, it's still a record amount for antitrust violation.

"In order better to reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement, the General Court considers it appropriate however to impose a fine of  €4.125 billion on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission," the judges said.

Google says disappointed over decision

Google said it was 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 company added.

Google has racked up more than €8 billion in antitrust fines in three separate investigations stretching back more than a decade.

rm/aw (Reuters, AP)