Google accuses regulators of ignoring Apple as it fights huge EU penalties.
Reuters reports from LUXEMBOURG: As it began a petition to get Europe’s second-highest court to cancel a record $4.34 billion euro ($5.1 billion) sentence relating to its Android operating system, Alphabet unit Google on Monday criticized EU antitrust regulators for disregarding rival Apple.
Android has been a huge success story of competition at work, Google representatives told a panel of five judges at the General Court in Luxembourg at the beginning of a five-day session, far from holding rivals back and harming users.
As of 2018, the European Commission penalized Google for abusing its dominance in general internet search through the use of Android devices dating back to 2011.
According to Google’s lawyer, “the Commission shut its eyes to the real competitive dynamic in this business, that between Apple and Android.” Matthew Pickford told the court this during a hearing.
In his opinion, the Commission erred in finding Google to be dominant in mobile OS systems and app stores when it was actually a robust market disrupter because it defined markets too narrowly and minimized the powerful restriction imposed by the immensely powerful Apple.
A “remarkable success story of the competitive spirit in action,” according to Pickford.
According to lawyer Nicholas Khan for the Commission, Apple’s market share is insignificant compared to that of Android.
“Adding Apple to the mix doesn’t make a significant difference. He explained to the jury that Google and Apple “pursue distinct models.”
For example, he pointed to agreements that required phone makers to preinstall Google Search, Chrome, and the Google Play app store on their Android handsets, along with payments to manufacturers who wanted to preinstall Google Search but not the others.
Around 80% of the world’s smartphones use Android, which is open source and free to devise manufacturers. Because of Android’s dominance in the market, this is the most significant of the EU’s three lawsuits against the company. In the previous ten years, Google has raked up EU antitrust fines totaling more than 8 billion euros.
Gigaset Communications GmbH, a German phone manufacturer that supports Google,
credited its success to Android’s open platform and bemoaned the decision’s impact on its business.
“The Play Store licensing fee that Google now demands as a result of the disputed decision comprises a considerable component of the price of Gigaset’s handsets targeted at price-sensitive consumers,” company lawyer Jean-François Bellis told the court.
According to FairSearch, the organization that brought the Commission action, Google’s methods with phone makers were deplorable.
“Google used a well-known method known as ‘bait and switch.’ As its lawyer Thomas Vinje said before the court,
Google “hooked (them) on a free and open-source operating system supported by its search monopoly,
only to shut down that system to competition.”
It’s possible that we’ll know the answer next year. Specifically,
The case is T-604/18 Google vs European Commission.
($1 = 0.8537 euros)
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