Google’s appeal of a 2018 EU antitrust decision and $5 billion fine related to Android begins today in Luxembourg. Lawyers representing the online giant argued that Android does not stall competition or reduce consumer choice.
“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” a Google spokesperson said. “This case isn’t supported by the facts or the law.”
Google has found itself on the receiving end of three EU antitrust decisions and a total of $8 billion in related fines so far, but there are more investigations en route, including one related to Google’s advertising business. And Google still must comply with the 2018 Android decision, which among other things requires it to offer EU customers a choice of search engines, while it appeals.
In July 2018, the European Commission found that three of the restrictions that Google imposed on Android licensees were illegal. Google requires hardware makers to bundle Google’s apps and Play Store service on their devices, it pays certain large hardware makers and carriers to exclusively offer only Google apps and services, and it prevents hardware makers from selling devices with alternate Android versions. The EU fined Google $5 billion for the transgressions and required that it make policy changes.
In October 2018, Google said that it would comply with the decision, but said that the changes would require it to charge for more Android—which you’ll recall the firm claims is “free”—and then it formally announced it would appeal in July 2021. That appeal is now underway and takes the form of a five-day hearing at the European Court of Justice General Court. A final decision could take months and Google can appeal again if required.