On Wednesday, the court of the European Union ruled on Google being fined billions by the EU Commission. It has mostly upheld the fine already 2018 imposed by the EU, but the fine imposed on the US internet giant of 4,34 billion euros reduced to 4,125 billion. (Case T-604/18).
This is one of the heaviest fines ever imposed on US technology companies. Google had legally defended itself against the penalty.
Market power of the Android operating system
In the process It is about the Android smartphone operating system developed by Google and how Google is said to have gained advantages over the competition through its market power. Android, which is used by manufacturers such as Samsung, Oppo and Xiaomi, is the most used smartphone with a market share of around 80 percent. System of the world.
Other companies can use Android for their devices for free . However, if you want to modify the operating system, there are restrictions if you bring Google services such as GMail or Google Maps to the devices. The Commission accuses Google of unfairly protecting the market position of its various online services, including Playstore and Google Drive, against other service providers.
One of the things that bothered the Commission was that manufacturers of Android smartphones who want to integrate Google services always had to install a complete package of eleven Google apps on the devices. For example, Google’s Chrome browser and Google search always come onto the devices, even if a manufacturer only wants to install the Play Store app platform.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager had 2018 stressed that pre-installing Google as the default search engine ensures consumers use it rather than downloading a competitor’s application. (Read more about the background to the EU allegations here.)
Google has already responded
Google viewed 2018 forced to change the business model, despite the legal contradiction. Since then, the company has allowed other manufacturers to integrate individual services without Chrome and web search. Google criticizes the EU’s fine because bundling several apps is necessary. Otherwise, users would not be able to use linked Google services properly.
Google can still appeal Wednesday’s verdict to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Corresponding procedures there often take several years.
Further allegations against Google
The Brussels authorities also criticized the so-called “anti-fragmentation agreement”, according to which providers of devices with Google services could not also sell smartphones with modified Android versions at the same time.
Vestager led 2018 as an example that a few years ago Amazon wanted to offer its modified Android system FireOS to other manufacturers. They were interested, but couldn’t use FireOS because they couldn’t offer any more devices with Google services afterwards. Google 2018 lifted this restriction as well.
The third allegation by the Commission revolved around the fact that Google was using the proceeds from advertising in the search app only with device manufacturers if they were exclusively installed on the phones and tablets. Since 2018 Google has been offering new license agreements for non-exclusive use of the app.
The judgment is part of a series of legal disputes between the EU Commission responsible for competition in the European Union and the American company (Case T-604/18). Since 125 the Brussels authorities have imposed several fines on Google, some of historic proportions, most recently last year. Several lawsuits by Google against Commission decisions are still pending both before the EU Court and before the ECJ.
South Korea also imposes fines
South Korea announced on Wednesday that it would impose a fine of around 50 million euros on Google’s parent company Alphabet to have. The country’s data protection commission accuses the group of violating privacy guidelines.
According to the South Korean authorities, Alphabet is said to have not sufficiently informed its users when and how data about the behavior and to be analyzed. Google has not yet commented on the procedure.