Google will have to pay a record fine in Europe for anticompetitive practices

Google could have to pay a record fine of 4.125 billion euros to the European Union. Indeed, the Internet giant lost its appeal in the case of anticompetitive practices concerning the Android operating system for smartphones.

The Court of Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided to confirm to a large extent the decision of the European Commission dating from 2018 and aiming Google. The General Court reduced the fine imposed by the Commission only slightly, from EUR 4.34 billion to €4.125 billionbecause its reasoning differs “on certain points” from that of the Commission.

The court’s decision states 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 Tribunal broadly aligns with the European Commission’s 2018 ruling that Google forced Android device makers to agree to pre-install Google Search and Google Play Store. Furthermore, these same manufacturers could not use unlicensed versions of the operating system developed by third parties.

This fine of 4.125 billion euros comes on top of a broader set of sanctions in terms of anti-competitive practices (the amount of which amounts to more than eight billion euros) targeting Google in Europe. The Internet giant is notably subject to a fine of €2.42 billion for abuse of a dominant position in the search engine market favoring its own price comparison service. The company Google is also targeted by another fine of €1.49 billion for abusive online advertising practices.

Google can still appeal to the CJEU, the highest court in the Union, but such an eventuality is unlikely.

The court’s decision is likely to encourage the European Commission to extend its sanctions on US tech giants including Amazon, Apple and Meta. The Commission is currently investigating the App Store rules applicable to music streaming providers. In addition, the Commission is investigating possible anti-competitive behavior by Google and Meta in the online display advertising sector. Finally, the Commission is investigating Amazon and its practices with regard to the use of non-public data of independent sellers as well as with regard to e-commerce.

At the beginning of the year, the European Parliament adopted in first reading a package of drastic measures aimed at combating the dominant position of large technology companies: the law on digital markets and the law on digital services.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Siladitya Ray

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