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Google Android antitrust fine largely upheld by EU court

·2 min read

Alphabet unit Google is facing a fine of more than 4 billion euro for breaking competition rules, the Court of Justice of the European Union announced Wednesday.

The ruling largely upholds a top European court decision. However the fine was lowered to 4.125 billion euros ($4.13 billion) from 4.34 billion euros.

The General Court said its reasoning differed from the EU executive commission's "in certain respects" in deciding a penalty of 4.125 billion euros was appropriate to "better to reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement."

The search engine technology, online advertising and cloud computing provider had appealed the record EU antitrust fine imposed for reducing consumer choice through the mobile Android operating system and restricting the competition.

The General Court "largely dismissed" the action.

GOOGLE TO FACE $25.4 BILLION IN DAMAGES BY UK AND DUTCH COURTS OVER ADTECH PRACTICES

Google said it was "disappointed" that the court did not "annul the decision in full." The company had argued that Android has resulted in low-cost phones and driven competition with Apple.

"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world," the company added.

The commission said Google had broken EU rules by requiring device makers to take a bundle of Google apps — including Google, Chrome, YouTube and Gmail — and prevented them from selling the devices with altered versions of Android.

"As regards the pre-installation conditions imposed on manufacturers of mobile devices, the commission concluded that they were abusive, distinguishing, on the one hand, the Google Search and Play Store apps bundle from the Chrome browser, Google Search and Play Store apps bundle, and finding, on the other hand, that those bundles had restricted competition during the infringement period, for which Google had been unable to demonstrate any objective justification," the General Court stated.

Google had taken action to address the issues, giving Android users in Europe a choice of browser and search app and charging for pre-installed apps.

It still has one more opportunity to appeal.

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The fine makes one of three antitrust fines totaling more than $8 billion that the commission gave Google between 2017 and 2019.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.