Google loses appeal against record US$4 billion EU fine

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Google
Google
Search Engine giant, Google on Wednesday lost its appeal against a record €4.34billion European Union (EU) fine for using the dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system to thwart competition.
The fine was slapped on Google by the EU Antitrust Commission back in 2018, because Google promoted its own search engine above competitive search engines in the Google Play Store.

In a statement, the EU’s General Court said it “largely confirms the commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices” in order to benefit its search engine.

The court, however, said the fine should be slightly reduced to €4.125 billion, instead of the €4.34 billion euros decided by the commission after reviewing the duration of the infringement.

The fine remains the EU’s biggest ever on any tech giant despite Google’s arguments that the commission’s case was unfounded because it relied on false accusations that Google imposed its search engine and Chrome browser on Android phones.

The tech giant also argued that the EU was unfairly blind to the strength of Apple, which imposes or gives clear preference to its own services such as Safari on iPhones.

Google insisted that downloading rival apps was only a click away and that customers were in no way tied to Google products on Android.

The EU and complainants responded that Google used contracts with phone makers in the early days of Android to stifle rivals.

“This shows the European Commission got it right,” said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer representing FairSearch, whose original complaint launched the case in 2013.

“Google can no longer impose its will on phone makers. Now they may open their devices to competition in search and other services, allowing consumers to benefit from increased choice,” he added.

The fine was coupled with remedies that would effectively loosen Google’s grip over its Android software, which is used in 80 percent of the world’s smartphones and is a key part of the Silicon Valley company’s business.

Those changes, which European regulators ordered, undercut Google’s ability to automatically include its own search and other apps in mobile devices, opening it to more competition in a market that it has dominated.

The penalty’s size highlighted Europe’s increasingly bold stance against the power of American tech firms, even as officials in the United States have taken a largely hands-off approach to the companies.

Ghana

In Ghana there are no regulations on how to handle abuses by tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and the others.

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