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Google takes £3.6 billion hit after losing competition court case

·1-min read
Google said the lawsuit ‘ignores the benefits and choice Android and Google Play provide’ (PA) (PA Archive)
Google said the lawsuit ‘ignores the benefits and choice Android and Google Play provide’ (PA) (PA Archive)

Tech giant Google suffered a major blow this morning as it was dealt a 4.1 billion euro (£3.6 billion) fine by a European court for impeding rival search engines on its Android devices.

The California-based company had been seeking to overturn a 4.3 billion euro fine imposed by an earlier EU competition ruling. In the end, Google’s lawyers were only able to secure a 5% discount on the fine.

The eye-watering fee is the biggest ever imposed by the EU for breaking competition law, and represents a second major court defeat by Google after it failed to overturn an earlier EU fine of 2.4 billion euros last year.

The Court said: “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,” adding the reduction in the find was a result of its “reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission.”

The defeat is another feather in the cap of EU Commission competition boss Margrethe Vestager, who already has Google in her sights in a number of ongoing competition investigations, including into its digital advertising business and its advertising agreement with Facebook owner Meta. It comes after the Commission lost a legal fight to award a 1.1 billion fine to chipmaker Intel in January after a European Court in Luxembourg said “the Commission’s analysis is incomplete.”

A Google spokesperson said: "We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world."