EU courtroom upholds antitrust judgment in opposition to Google, however reduces fantastic

The flag of the European Union can be seen with the Google logo.

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

The dispute between Google and the EU courts over whether Google uses the Android operating system to eliminate competition was initiated against the company in 2015.

The court “broadly upheld the European Commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on Android handset makers and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine.”

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

The first fine was imposed by the European Commission in 2018 and was the largest Google has ever received. It said that around 80% of Europeans used Android and that Google gave its apps like Chrome and Search an unfair advantage by forcing smartphone markets to pre-install them in a bundle with its App Store Play.

Google claims that Android phones compete with iOS phones, Apple’s operating system, and that using Android still gives consumers a choice between phone maker and carrier and the ability to remove Google apps and install others.

In Wednesday’s ruling, the court said the new fine was “reasonable given the seriousness of the infringement.”

It emphasized that Google’s business model “is primarily based on increasing the number of users of its online search services so that it can sell its online advertising services”, while Apple focuses on selling higher-end smart mobile devices.

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

The company can still appeal the judgment before the EU’s highest court.

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