Google loses challenge against EU antitrust decision, other studies loom

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LUXEMBOURG, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Google suffered a major setback on Wednesday when the European High Court fined it 4.125 billion euros ($4.13 billion) for using its Android mobile operating system to undercut rivals. Pressure.

A unit of American technology company Alphabet (GOOGL.O) An earlier ruling had been challenged, but the decision was broadly upheld by Europe’s second highest court in a ruling on Wednesday and the fine was modestly reduced from 4.34 billion euros.

It is a registration penalty for breach of trust. The EU antitrust regulator has imposed antitrust fines totaling 8.25 billion euros on the world’s most popular internet search engine in three investigations spanning more than a decade.

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This is Google’s second court defeat

“The General Court largely affirms the Commission’s conclusion that Google imposed unlawful restraints on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators to consolidate its search engine dominance,” the court said.

“The General Court considers it appropriate to impose a fine of 4.125 billion euros on Google to better reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement, whose reasoning differs from some of the Commission’s,” the judges said.

Google expressed its disappointment that it can appeal legal matters to the European Court of Justice, Europe’s highest court.

“We’re disappointed the court didn’t completely overturn the decision. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world,” a spokesperson said.

Encouragement against faith

The ruling is encouraging for EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager following a backlash in cases involving other tech giants such as Intel. (INTC.O) and Qualcomm (QCOM.O) This year.

Vestager has made his crackdown on big tech a hallmark of his work, encouraging regulators in the US and elsewhere to follow suit.

He is currently investigating Google’s digital advertising business, its Jedi Blue advertising deal with Meta (META.O)Apple (AAPL.O) App Store Rules, Meta’s Market and Data Usage, and Amazon’s (AMZN.O) Online Sales and Marketing Practices.

The court accepted the Commission’s assessment of iPhone maker Apple (AAPL.O) Not in the same market, so can’t be a competitive barrier against Android.

The court backing could strengthen the EU antitrust watchdog’s investigation into Apple’s business practices in the music streaming market, which the regulator says it dominates.

FairSearch, whose 2013 complaint sparked the EU case, said the ruling would further strengthen Vestager’s key technology rules aimed at curbing US tech giants, which take effect next year.

“This win will embolden the commission to enforce its new regulations on Big Tech and the Digital Markets Act,” said its attorney, Thomas Vinje.

In its 2018 report, the commission said Google used Android to assert its dominance in public internet search through major manufacturers and mobile network operators and restrictions.

Google criticized the EU decision as operating like countless other businesses, and that such fees and contracts help keep Android a free operating system, out of step with the economic reality of mobile software platforms.

Case T-604/18 Google vs European Commission.

($1 = 1.0002 euros)

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Reporting by Fu Yun Che Editing by David Evans

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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