A European Union court Wednesday upheld a ruling that Google violated European Union (EU) competition rules. While the General Court largely upheld a European Commission (EC) decision that Google engaged in anti-competitive practices, the court lowered the previously imposed €4.3 billion fine to €4.1 billion.
The EC fined Google in 2018 for anti-competitive practices in violation of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and Article 54 of the European Economic Arena Agreement. A lower court upheld the fine of €4.3 billion against Google. Google appealed the decision.
On appeal, the General Court found that Google violated anti-competition rules, in agreement with the lower court’s decision. At the center of the case was Google’s business practices regarding its Android operating system. According to the EC, approximately 80% of all smart mobile devices used in Europe in 2018 were Androids. The EC claimed Google imposed contractual restrictions which promoted Google’s dominant position in the market. These restrictions included: restrictions requiring original equipment manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Chrome to receive a license to use its app store; restrictions in anti-fragmentation agreements with manufacturers; and restrictions that shared advertising revenue with manufacturers and operators that agreed to not pre-install a competing search service.
The court largely dismissed Google’s appeal, but did agree to lower the fine amount based on recalculations of the ad revenue sharing agreement restrictions.
Google is able to appeal this decision to the EU Court of Justice.