Google fighting $5.1 billion fine by asking why 'highly powerful Apple' is being ignored

zakislam

Posts: 40   +1
Staff
Why it matters: In 2018, Google received a $5.1 billion fine from European Union regulators pertaining to how Android established market dominance with questionable practices. The search giant, in its effort to nullify the ruling, is asking why its competitor Apple is being ignored in the case.

Three years ago, the European Commission levied the hefty fine against the tech company, pointing towards illegal practices for devices that have the operating system installed in order to maintain its search engine market lead.

The commission said Google made it mandatory for manufactures to pre-install both the Google Search app and Chrome browser if smartphone makers were to be authorized to use its app store.

Google lawyer Meredith Pickford is now arguing that Apple's iOS should factor into proceedings, according to Reuters. "The Commission shut its eyes to the real competitive dynamic in this industry, that between Apple and Android," he said. "By defining markets too narrowly and downplaying the potent constraint imposed by the highly powerful Apple, the Commission has mistakenly found Google to be dominant in mobile operating systems and app stores, when it was in fact a vigorous market disrupter."

Pickford added that Android "is an exceptional success story of the power of competition in action." Commission lawyer Nicholas Khan countered by saying that bringing Apple under examination in the antitrust violations case wouldn’t affect anything because of its smaller market share.

"Bringing Apple into the picture doesn't change things very much. Google and Apple pursue different models," Khan stated.

Another way Google thwarted competition, on top of the requirement to pre-install Chrome and Search, was preventing manufacturers from selling devices that came with forked versions of Android, regulators claimed. It also said the firm paid numerous device makers to pre-install the Google Search app.

Google’s Android OS, which is installed on around 80% of smartphones in the world, undoubtedly rejuvenated companies like Samsung and Motorola, as well as other smaller Android OEMs. German phone maker Gigaset Communications, for one, is backing Google in the case.

It wouldn’t have achieved its success had it not been for Android's open platform, the European smartphone maker stressed, and the introduction of a license fee for the Play Store has left it no choice but to increase prices for smartphones.

Commission lawyer Nicholas Khan, however, said the huge barriers for competitors led to "a virtuous circle for Google but a vicious circle for anybody else." FairSearch, the lobbying group that was responsible for the Commission case through its complaint, accused Google of embracing a "classic bait and switch strategy."

Its lawyer Thomas Vinje told the court that "it hooked (them) on a supposedly free and open source operating system subsidised by its search monopoly, only to shut that system to competition through the web of restrictions at issue in this case."

A verdict could come to fruition sometime during 2022. But regardless of the outcome, both Google and Apple may be impacted by new rules the European Union is planning. Upcoming legislation would require them to share data with rival platforms, in addition to limiting how many of their own apps can come pre-installed on devices. Another proposed antitrust legislation would force companies to allow users to delete pre-installed apps.

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Cubi Dorf

Posts: 367   +244
It is seem like every big tech company justify bad behavior by pointing to other big tech and say look they are doing some thing worse, so we should be left alone.
 

Kotters

Posts: 348   +241
I agree that they shouldn't be defining the market as "Android Phones," but rather "Smartphones." That said, **** Google and Apple both, so...
 

Revolution 11

Posts: 73   +78
It is seem like every big tech company justify bad behavior by pointing to other big tech and say look they are doing some thing worse, so we should be left alone.
I say let them point fingers at each other. It builds the case for stronger antitrust laws and more aggressive antitrust regulators.

I rather have squawking whiny self-destructive mega-corps than a silent competent industry cabal like Big Ag.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 823   +641
Lol, im no legal expert but trying to get any sense out of the European Regulators is not worth your time.

Of course Google have leveraged Android to push its own services, that’s its business model. Should Apple be fined too? I don’t think so, I don’t see how any of their services force others out. I tried Apple Music, it was shite so I went back to Spotify! I don’t really think Google should be fined for what they did.

But seriously who cares, these companies can afford these fines easily still, the money just ends up in the EUs big black hole of accounts and besides. The EU won’t even be around in 10 years at this rate.
 

Crinkles

Posts: 148   +157
"totally open platform is the reason for their success" so they're being fined 5.1 billion for having an -open platform. And Apple isn't.