Alphabet Inc’s GOOG GOOGL Google suffered its second setback in Europe in less than a year as the European Union’s top court agreed with the bloc’s antitrust regulators on Wednesday.
What Happened: Google lost its battle to topple a landmark 4.3 billion euro ($4.3 billion) fine imposed by the antitrust watchdog on the tech giant after the General Court agreed that the company had abused its dominance. However, it trimmed the fine by 5% because of a disagreement on one point.
Earlier, last year, Google lost its appeal against a 2.42 billion euro ($2.42 billion) fine imposed by the European Commission in relation to its shopping service.
“The General Court largely confirms the Commission’s 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 court said in a statement.
“In order better to reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement, the General Court considers it appropriate, however, to impose a fine of 4.125 billion euros ($4.12 billion) on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission,” it added.
Why It’s Important: The ruling comes as a boost for the EU antitrust regulator that has faced setbacks in cases involving other giants such as Intel Corporation INTC and Qualcomm Inc. QCOM this year.
Europe’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, in 2018, had ruled that “Google 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.”
Google, criticizing the EU decision, said it would appeal the decision because it acted like countless other businesses and that such payments and agreements help keep Android a free operating system.
Meanwhile, a U.S. court has allowed a larger antitrust case against Google to proceed that alleges that the tech giant monopolized the ad-tech market and suppressed competition by its access to data. However, the judge dismissed claims of collusion between Google and Meta Platforms Inc. META.