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LUXEMBOURG: Alphabet’s Google has been fined a record €4.34 billion ($4.4 billion) for using its Android mobile operating system to crush its competitors, according to a European General Court ruling on Wednesday. It determined whether antitrust fines should be faced and could set a precedent for other regulators considering the company’s business. practice.

Google is looking to reverse its fortunes after losing the first of three lawsuits last year that resulted in a fine of €2.42 billion. Meanwhile, EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager needs to emerge victorious after a setback in a lawsuit involving other tech giants like Intel. Qualcomm this year.

The European Commission’s Competition Commissioner has cracked down on big tech with hefty fines to ensure a level playing field in the 27 EU countries.

Vestager is also currently investigating Google’s digital advertising business, Jedi Blue advertising agreements with Meta, Apple’s App Store rules, Meta’s market and data use, and Amazon’s online sales and market practices.

The court’s ruling against Google, a dominant player in the phone market along with rival Apple, has affected some of these cases, particularly in terms of whether the EU antitrust watchdog should take competition between the two giants into account. may have some impact.

In a 2018 decision, the European Commission said Google used Android to consolidate its dominance in general internet search through payments and restrictions to major manufacturers and mobile network operators.

Google acted like countless other companies, saying such payments and contracts would help keep Android a free operating system, while the EU decision was a move to the economic realities of mobile software platforms. He criticized them for not keeping pace.

The pan-European consumer group BEUC, which supports the European Commission, pointed out the importance of the court’s ruling.

BEUC Executive Director Monique Goyens said: “The court has confirmed that Google’s actions over the past few years are illegal and cannot continue, thereby enabling consumers to benefit from a more open and innovative digital environment. It is very important to be able to

Even if Google wins, it will have to stop the practice pointed out by the European Commission under a groundbreaking technical regulation known as the Digital Markets Act, which will come into effect next year.

Both parties may appeal any legal question to the highest court of Europe, the European Court of Justice.

The case is T-604/18 Google v. European Commission.

($1 = 0.9830 Euro) EU court ruling on record $4.4 billion Google fine could set precedent

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