Google slammed with €4.125 billion fine by EU top court
The fine comes in response to Google's practice of imposing "unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine."
Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google suffered another major setback in less than a year on Wednesday when Europe's top court agreed with EU antitrust regulators that the company had exploited its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals. The court, however, reduced Google's fine by 5% due to a dispute on one of the points. The case in reference is T-604/18 Google vs European Commission.
Last year, Google lost its lawsuit to a 2.42 billion euro ($2.42 billion) fine, the first of three legal cases.
The court asserted that "The General Court largely confirms the Commission's decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine," to which the judges added that "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 euros on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission."
Following failures in cases involving other tech titans like Intel (INTC.O) and Qualcomm (QCOM.O) this year, the verdict represents a boost for EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.
To maintain a fair playing field across the EU, the European Commission's competition chief has slapped heavy fines on Big Tech.
In its 2018 judgment, the Commission stated that Google utilized Android to consolidate its dominance in general internet search through payments to significant manufacturers and mobile network operators, as well as restrictions.
Google stated that it behaved in the same manner as many other firms and that such payments and agreements help make Android a free operating system, criticizing the EU judgment as being out of touch with the economic realities of mobile software platforms.
The parties can pursue an appeal to Europe's top court, the EU Court of Justice.