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EU Antitrust Ruling Reduces 2018 Fines But Puts Google On Notice

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A new ruling from the EU General Court has upheld most of a 2018 ruling against Google on the antitrust front, although it did also reduce the initial fine. That’s based on recent reports detailing the ruling and the new €4.1 billion fine the search giant faces. Previously, the fine was set closer to €5 billion, with the reduction equating to around 5 percent.

In terms of agreement with Google, the second-highest court in the EU says that revenue-sharing between manufacturers and Google was not an abuse of market power. That ultimately led to reduced fines.

However, the remainder of the EU Commission’s charges against the company has withstood Google’s rebuttals. Google focused its arguments on several areas. Noting, for instance, that despite its dominance of the smartphone space globally, iOS is a strong competitor.

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It also argued that some of its activities were important to prevent fracturing and fragmentation of the Android ecosystem itself. Specifically, to prevent Android from breaking off into multiple competing and incompatible OS variants.

What does this EU antitrust ruling against Google say?

The EU Commission disagrees wholly with the latter of Google’s arguments. According to the Commission, the growth of multiple competing operating systems is precisely the goal.

While Google can still appeal to the EU’s Court of Justice, the company must wait just over two months to file its appeal. In the interim, the Commission has effectively and successfully argued that Google forced phone OEMs to place its own search engine as a priority on devices. Or, more specifically, as the only pre-installed search engine. That’s alongside the Google Play Store as the primary app market and top-ranked browser Chrome as required pre-installed apps.

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Moreover, the ruling marks out Google’s requirement that OEMs do not sell devices running ‘unapproved’ versions of Android in its findings.

In response to the ruling, Google has indicated that it is “disappointed” in the court findings. The company hoped that the court would “annul the decision in full.”

Google also argues in its statement that “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.”

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