Google is fighting a 2018 decision from the EU’s executive Commission, which imposed a penalty on the company for stifling competition with the dominance of its Android operating system.
The decision resulted in a fine of 4.34 billion-euro ($5 billion) for Google, and the company now hopes to appeal and overturn that. Essentially the EU commission came to the conclusion that Google’s practices were restricting in terms of competition, and reduced the number of choices for consumers. The Commission found that Google required smartphone makers to take a bundle of Google apps if they wanted any at all, as well as prevented them from selling devices with altered versions of Android.
From 2017 to 2019 Google was also hit with two other antitrust penalties, with all three amounting to nearly $8 billion in penalties. In the EU especially Android is the most popular operating system, with an average of four out of five devices sporting it.
In a five-day hearing opened at the European Court of Justice’s General Court, Google argued
“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world. This case isn’t supported by the facts or the law.”
The crux of Google’s argument is that because Android is open source both phone makers and consumers can choose which apps to install on their devices. Teh company also argues that just because its apps come pre-installed on devices, doesn’t mean that consumers can’t find and download others.
After the 2019 ruling Google did implement a host of changes to address things, including allowing EU users to change their default browser and search app, as well as allowing device makers to pre-install their own apps for a price.
Any decision on Google’s appeal will likely take a while to come to fruition, especially seeing as it’s been two years since the original fine.