Google failed to persuade the EU Court of General Jurisdiction to overturn the Commission’s decision to fine the company EUR 4.3 billion for its monopoly position on the Android platform, reports Engadget.
The court upheld the Commission’s decision back in 2018 that Google used its dominant market position to impose restrictions on Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers. However, it reduced the fine, deciding that €4.125 billion was a more reasonable amount based on its own findings.
Previously, the Commission found that Google acted illegally by requiring Android device manufacturers to pre-install their apps and search engine. In this way, the company was able to “cement its dominant position in general internet search,” the Commission says. Around 80% of smart devices in Europe were running Android as of July 2018, and people tended to be content with the default options they were given.
According to FairSearch, a group of organizations that opposed Google’s search dominance and which is the first plaintiff in the case, this is a huge amount because Google’s search engine is monetized through paid advertising. The tech giant makes most of its money from online advertising — Google’s ad revenue in 2021 was $209.49 billion, according to Statista. FairSearch also said that by requiring Android manufacturers to install their apps and search engine, Google deprives competitors of a chance to compete fairly.
In addition to imposing restrictions on Android manufacturers, EU officials also found that Google “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators” allegedly in an attempt to obtain assurances that they install search only Google on the devices they sell. The EU’s General Court also agreed with the Commission on anti-fragmentation agreements that Android manufacturers must sign. They must “prevent the development and market presence of devices running a non-compatible Android fork,” the court wrote in its decision.
In its statement, Google instead expressed its disappointment with the court’s decision and insisted that Android has created more options for consumers:
“We are 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 Court of General Jurisdiction of the EU is the second highest court of the EU. Google may further seek to overturn the decision, and the case may be referred to the European Court of Justice.