Google loses challenge to EU antitrust ruling, gets 5% reduction in fine

LUXEMBOURG, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google suffered its second setback in less than a year on Wednesday as Europe’s highest court agreed with EU antitrust regulators that it had abused of its dominant position, but reduced the fine by 5% because of disagreement on one point.

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Google lost its challenge to a 2.42 billion euro ($2.42 billion) fine last year, the first of a trio of cases.

“The General Court largely confirms the Commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device manufacturers and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine,” the court said.

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“In order to better reflect the gravity and the duration of the infringement, the General Court considers it appropriate, however, to impose a fine of €4.125 billion on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission”, declared the judges.

The ruling is a boost for EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager following setbacks in cases involving other tech giants such as Intel (INTC.O) and Qualcomm ( QCOM.O) this year.

The European Commission’s competition chief has cracked down on Big Tech with heavy fines to ensure a level playing field across the 27 countries of the European Union.

In its 2018 ruling, the Commission said Google was using Android to cement its dominance in general internet search through payments to large manufacturers and mobile network operators and restrictions.

Google said it acted like countless other companies and that such payments and agreements helped keep Android a free operating system, criticizing the EU decision as out of step with the economic reality of the platforms. mobile software forms.

The parties can appeal in matters of law to the Court of Justice of the EU, the highest in Europe.

This is case T-604/18 Google v European Commission.

($1 = 1.0002 euros)

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee
Edited by David Evans

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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