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Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Tuesday said it filed an appeal of the European Union’s €4.34 billion ($4.97 billion) antitrust fine for allegedly abusing the dominance of its Android operating system for mobile phones.
Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai, in a blogpost defended the popular mobile OS saying it was because of Android that there are now more than 24,000 devices, available across price points from over 1,300 different brands, including many European phone makers.
Google said in the email “We are now appealing the commission’s Android decision to the ordinary European court of justice.” It had previously said it would appeal to Luxembourg’s second European high court.
Google has been hit with a record-breaking €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine by EU regulators for breaking antitrust laws. The European Commission says Google has abused its Android market dominance in three key areas. Google has been bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system. Google has also blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and it “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators” to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets.
The European Commission now wants Google to bring its “illegal conduct to an end in an effective manner within 90 days of the decision.” That means Google will need to stop forcing manufacturers to preinstall Chrome and Google search in order to offer the Google Play Store on handsets. Google will also need to stop preventing phone makers from using forked versions of Android, as the commission says Google “did not provide any credible evidence that Android forks would be affected by technical failures or fail to support apps.” Google’s illegal payments for app bundling ceased in 2014 after the EU started to look into the issue
“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” said Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.”
The complex case took years to investigate before a decision was made. A final appeal could go to the European Union’s Supreme.