The Daily Telegraph
Google appeal over €4bn fine is rejected
GOOGLE has failed to overturn a record €4bn (£3.5bn) fine imposed by the European Commission for unfairly promoting its search engine on people’s phones.
An EU court has upheld the earlier fine, which was levied after competition watchdogs concluded Google had breached competition laws.
Investigators found the tech giant had unfairly forced smartphone makers such as Samsung and Sony to set Google as their phones’ default internet search engine on devices that used Google’s Android operating system.
In addition, Android handset makers also had to install Google Chrome as their devices’ default web browser if they wanted to pre-install other apps such as the Google Play Store or Gmail.
In its judgment, the General Court said Google had been “foreclosing its competitors to the detriment of consumers”.
“At that time, which was crucial for the development of online search services from smart mobile devices, Goog- le’s abusive practices were damaging to its competitors,” the court found.
It added that it was clear from internal documents that “Google was fully aware of the effects of the practices challenged in the contested decision”. In a minor concession to Google the fine was cut to
‘Google was fully aware of the effects of the practices challenged in the contested decision’
€4.1bn from the original €4.3bn.
Google said it was “disappointed” that the court did not completely annul the EU Commission’s decision. “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world,” it added.
The ruling can be appealed to the EU Court of Justice.