EU court upholds antitrust ruling against Google but reduces fine

The European Union flag appears with the Google logo.

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The EU General Court on Wednesday upheld an antitrust ruling against Alphabet, Google’s parent company, but reduced the fine to 4.125 billion euros ($4.12 billion) from 4.34 billion euros.

The row between Google and EU courts over whether it uses the Android operating system to crush competition began against the company in 2015.

The court said it “largely confirms the European Commission’s decision that Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android mobile device manufacturers and mobile operators to strengthen the dominant position of its search engine.”

In a statement provided to CNBC, Google said: “We are disappointed that the court did not overturn the decision entirely. Android has created more options for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful companies in Europe and around the world.”

The Initial fine issued by the European Commission in 2018 and was the largest percentage Google has ever received. It said about 80% of Europeans use Android and that Google has given an unfair advantage to its apps, such as Chrome and Search, by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install them in a bundle with its own app store, Play.

Google claims that Android phones compete with iOS phones, Apple’s operating system, and that using Android still allows consumers to choose the phone maker and mobile carrier and the opportunity to remove Google apps and install other apps.

On Wednesday RuleThe general court said the new fine was “appropriate in view of the significance of the violation”.

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She highlighted that Google’s business model “is based first and foremost on increasing the number of users of online search services so that it can sell online advertising services”, while Apple focuses on selling high-end smart mobile devices.

Google argues that this allows it to keep the majority of its services free.

The company can still appeal the ruling at the highest court in the European Union.

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