2018 saw the EU hit Google with a record-breaking €4.3 billion fine ($4.3 billion). Today, the European Union’s second-highest Court upheld the record fine against Google over “unlawful restrictions” on Android phone manufacturers. This morning, the EU’s General Court announced that it “largely confirms” the ruling and reduced the fine to €4.1 billion ($4.1 billion) after finding flaws in the regulator’s analysis.
According to a Bloomberg report, the EU said Google abused its market dominance by preventing Android OEMs to pre-install apps from running “alternative versions of Android not approved by Google.” Further, manufacturers were required to pre-install Google’s Search and Chrome apps alongside the Play Store. Lastly, Google also paid manufacturers and operators to exclusively install Google search on smartphones as part of a revenue-sharing scheme.
However, the courts found that accusation of Google’s revenue-sharing schemes with smartphone manufacturers was not backed by enough evidence and thus reduced the fine to €4.1 billion ($4.1 billion).
Google argued that the EU was unreasonably oblivious to Apple’s authority, which imposes its services like Safari on iPhones. Google also argued that customers were not forced to use its browser on Android and that downloading other browsers was merely a click away.
After today’s General Court decision, Google has one more opportunity to challenge this ruling before the Court of Justice, the top Court in the Union. However, Google has to wait two months and ten days before filing another appeal.
In an emailed statement, Google said: “We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.”