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Google fails to overturn €4bn fine over Android bundling

15 Sep 2022 By theguardian

Google fails to overturn €4bn fine over Android bundling

Google has failed to overturn a fine of more than €4bn (£3.5bn), imposed by the EU, for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals.

Europe's second-highest court largely upheld the ruling on Wednesday, but reduced the fine from €4.34bn to €4.125bn. The EU's competition commission has now imposed a total of €8.25bn in antitrust fines on the search engine, in three investigations stretching back more than a decade.

The EU general court broadly backed the commission's ruling that Google had behaved anti-competitively byrequiring that mobile phone manufacturers pre-install Google's search and chrome apps on handsets as a condition for carrying Google's Play app store. Google also imposed restrictions on mobile network operators.

"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," the court said.

Google, which can appeal on matters of law to the European court of justice, the highest in the EU, voiced its disappointment.

"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," a spokesperson said.The ruling is a boost for the EU antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, following setbacks this year in cases involving other tech giants such as Intel and Qualcomm.

Vestager has made her crackdown against "Big Tech" a hallmark of her job, a move that has encouraged regulators in the US and elsewhere to follow suit.

She is investigating Google's digital advertising business, its Jedi Blue ad deal with Meta, Apple's App Store rules, Meta's marketplace and data use and Amazon's online selling and market practices.

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