European Court Of Justice Recommends $4.1B Google Fine Over Mobile Network Saga

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A recommended fine of €4.1B ($4.1B) has been imposed by the European Court of Justice on Google, upholding almost all of the European Commission’s recent ruling.

In the past few minutes, the Court said it has confirmed the decision that Google imposed “unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine.”

The fine is a slightly lower recommendation than that of the Commission and the European Court of Justice said this “reflects the gravity and duration of the infringement.”

Google owner Alphabet had already lost a challenge against a €2.4B fine last year but can still appeal this latest decision.

In its initial 2018 decision, the Commission accused Google of illegally forcing handset makers to install the Google Search app and the Chrome browser as a condition for licensing its Play Store, making payments to some large manufacturers and operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app and preventing manufacturers wishing to pre-install apps from running alternative versions of Android not approved by Google, according to a Bloomberg report.

Google, on the other hand, argues that it acts like other businesses and that such payments and agreements help keep Android a free operating system. Google has also criticized the EU as failing to accept the economic reality.

The European Commission has been cracking down on such behavior under EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who has led a string of cases against other tech giants including Intel and Qualcomm.

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