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Google Has To Pay a Fine of 4.1 Billion Euros ECJ Has Ruled

Google’s record fine stands. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the parent company Alphabet must pay 4.1 billion euros. The reason is anti-competitive requirements for the Android mobile operating system, through which Google has abused its market power. This was preceded by the decision of the EU Commission in 2018.

The anti-competitive requirements were directed against the smartphone manufacturers who had been using Android up to that point. These had to pre-install Google search and the Chrome browser on the devices in order to obtain a license for the Play Store. Through the agreements, Google also restricted manufacturers from bringing Android devices onto the market without Google services.

For example, Google only passed on part of the advertising revenue if smartphone manufacturers and mobile network operators undertook not to install any competing search services in advance.

Record fine reduced slightly

Due to the violations, the EU Commission imposed a fine of 4.343 billion euros. That was a record for tech companies in Europe. Google filed an objection, but the attempt has now failed before the ECJ.

In today’s judgment (Case T-604/18), the Luxembourg judges confirmed the core of the EU Commission’s decision. The ECJ shares the arguments of the EU Commission that Google has a dominant position in the market for mobile operating systems and search engines, but deviates from the determination of potential damage caused by anti-competitive behavior.

As a result, the fine was reduced to 4.125 billion euros – still a record. An appeal, limited to points of law, may be lodged with the Court of Justice against the decision of the General Court within two months and ten days of its being served on it. The procedure was not the only one directed against Google. Last year, the ECJ confirmed a fine of 2.42 billion euros. The group had to pay because the dominant position in the search engine market was abused.