Google appeals $5B antitrust fine from European Union

Google has appealed a $5 billion fine that the European Union imposed on the company in July for violating antitrust rules in relation to Android mobile phones.

Google has appealed a $5 billion fine over antitrust concerns from the European Commission. File Photo UPI/Shutterstock/George Dolgikh
Google has appealed a $5 billion fine over antitrust concerns from the European Commission. File Photo UPI/Shutterstock/George Dolgikh

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, followed through Tuesday on its promise to appeal the July fine.
The European Commission had fined Google in July for breaching antitrust laws by placing restrictions on Android devices to increase traffic to Google search engine. Some of these restrictions included requiring manufactures to pre-install the Google search app and browser app Chrome.

Competitors argued that Android has an unfair advantage in attracting users to its apps and then using data from the apps to target advertising.

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Google said the allegations were false because manufacturers typically install many rival apps on Android devices, and consumers can download others if they choose.

“Mobile internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic,” commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement regarding the decision to fine the company. “Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.”

“These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits, Vestager added. “They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

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The decision required Google to bring the restrictions on Android to an end by October 28 or face daily fines of up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily global revenue.

“The Commission will defend its decision in Court,” a Commission spokeswoman told Business Insider.

A spokesman for Google declined to make the appeal public or comment on it, but referred reporters to a blog post published in July in response to the European Commission’s decision.

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In the post, Google said that “the decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones,” and that Android has actually “expanded the choice of phones available around the world.”

BySommer Brokaw