Google, one of the world’s largest technology companies, was fined a then-record €4.34 billion ($5 billion) by the European Commission in 2018.
According to European authorities, Google abused its dominant position in the advertising market. The company took advantage of the way the Android operating system is deployed on smartphones, adopting a business model that aims to maximise revenue by inconveniencing or blocking rival advertising platforms.
Basically, the European Commission disagreed that all Android devices come factory equipped with Google apps and services, regardless of manufacturer. Thus, competition in the market for services such as search engines is not given a level playing field, given that Android smartphones have the majority of the market. One of the arguments for the fine was that other manufacturers of web browsers or search engines are not given a level playing field in the market.
Reacting to the verdict received following the appeal initiated four years ago, a Google spokesperson expressed the company’s position on the matter: “We are disappointed that the Court did not overturn the decision in its entirety. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.”
Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has published an official statement on his blog explaining that users can always uninstall Google apps and replace them with others from the Google Play Store, and giving some examples of popular alternatives to the Google Chrome browser..,
The size of the fine issued by the EU for Android violations in July 2018 equated to a record $5 billion at the time, remaining a record for an EU antitrust sanction.