Search Engine giant, Google on Wednesday lost its appeal against a record €4.34bn EU competition fine for using the dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system to thwart competition.
In a statement, the EU’s General court said it “largely confirms the commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices” in order to benefit its search engine.
The court, however, said the fine should be slightly reduced to 4.125 billion euros ($4.1 billion), instead of the 4.3 billion euros decided by the commission in 2018 after reviewing the duration of the infringement.
The levy remains the EU’s biggest ever despite Google’s arguments that the commission’s case was unfounded and falsely relied on accusations it imposed its search engine and Chrome browser on Android phones.
The company also pushed the case that the EU was unfairly blind to the strength of Apple, which imposes or gives clear preference to its own services such as Safari on iPhones.
Google insisted that downloading rival apps was only a click away and that customers were in no way tied to Google products on Android.
The EU and complainants responded that Google used contracts with phone makers in the early days of Android to stifle rivals.
“This shows the European Commission got it right,” said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer representing FairSearch, whose original complaint launched the case in 2013.
“Google can no longer impose its will on phone makers. Now they may open their devices to competition in search and other services, allowing consumers to benefit from increased choice,” he added.