The European Union found in 2018 that Google’s practice of bundling its apps with Android, effectively requiring its partners to ship their phones with a broad list of Google apps, was unlawful. Although the EU just announced that it will uphold the judgement, despite decreasing the fine, Google appealed that decision.
The EU today announced announced that it would uphold the previous court ruling that found Google in violation of antitrust regulations when it bundled its own apps with Android phones made by other manufacturers.
In particular, the Commission said that Google was in violation of the law when it required Android developers to preinstall Google Search, Chrome, and other programs and when it prohibited Android forks. When fundamental components of the platform are altered, such as breaking APIs or fundamental UX designs, Google views the adjustments as forks of Android.
Part of Google’s argument against the decision was that several of the restrictions that the EU took issue with prevented Android’s ecosystem from becoming even more fragmented, including providing secure ways to download new apps and breaking third-party apps on certain devices.
In the initial EU Commission decision, Google was assessed a record-breaking antitrust penalties of $4.3 billion.
Currently, the EU is mostly upholding that judgment, with the initial fine only slightly reduced. The court determined that Google’s revenue-sharing with manufacturers was not an abuse of its market dominance, contrary to the previous verdict, and Google will now be compelled to pay 4.1 billion.
In a succinct statement to the media, Google stated that it continues to disagree with the decision.
We regret that the Court did not completely overturn the ruling. Android has increased choice for all users, not decreased it, and it supports thousands of globally and in Europe profitable enterprises.
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