Home Technology Regulation Google appeals EU's US$5b anti-trust fine over Android
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Courtesy: European Union

Google has announced that it has mounted a challenge to a €4.3 billion (US$5 billion) fine levied on it by the European Union in July, for allegedly breaching anti-trust rules over its Android mobile operating system.

Reuters reported that the company had told it in an email: “We have now filed our appeal of the EC’s Android decision at the General Court of the EU."

Google had indicated at the time the fine was imposed that it would appeal to the second highest court in Europe.

In its appeal, the company cited arguments advanced by chief executive Sundar Pichai in a blog post when the fine was levied.

The outcome of this appeal can be again contested, but only on points of law, in Europe's top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union.

At the time the fine was imposed, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "Today, mobile Internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic. It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans.

google android

"Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine.

"In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits.

"They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules."

The July fine was the second levied by the EU on Google. In June last year, Google was fined €2.42 billion (US$2.7 billion) for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance to give illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. The company has appealed against this fine.

A third fine is said to be in the EU pipeline, this for alleged anti-business practices involving Google's AdSense advertising system.

The EU has also floated the idea of breaking up Google into a number of smaller units, with Vestager saying the political bloc harbours "grave suspicions" about the firm's dominance of the search market.

Brussels is not the only one to fine Google for anti-business practices. In February, the Competition Commission of India fined the company 135.86 crore rupees (about US$21.1 million) for "abusing its dominant position in online general Web search and Web search advertising services in India".

Google and other big multinational technology companies are also under pressure over alleged tax evasion, with the European Commission having unveiled a proposal to tax these companies at a rate of 3% as an interim measure.

Graphic: courtesy the European Union

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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