Google is reportedly going to court to fight the $5 billion it was fined by the EU for Android’s dominance

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's competition commissioner, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. BI Graphics
  • Google is reportedly prepping for a five-day court battle with EU legislators.
  • The bloc issued Google with a record $5 billion in 2018 for alleged anticompetitive practices.
  • The tech giant has been hit with $10 billion worth of fines in Europe in a three-year period.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google is gearing up for a five-day court battle with the EU later this year, in response to a $5 billion fine issued by lawmakers for alleged anticompetitive practices.

The tech giant has been fined for anti-competitive behaviour – over search, shopping, and Android – by the EU three times in as many years. The first was for $2.7 billion in 2017, again for $5 billion in 2018, and once more for $1.7 billion in 2019.

The firm has repeatedly rejected the EU’s findings, and met officials in court to appeal the first fine last year. Now, Reuters reports Google will challenge the second fine, issued in 2018, at a five-day hearing in late September.

The EU’s competition watchdog laid down the penalty over allegations the company had used the dominance of Android mobile operating system to bolster the popularity of Google apps and services.

Specifically, the European Commission claimed Google forced phone makers to preinstall its Chrome browser and its Search app as a condition for accessing the Play app store, illegally paid manufacturers to preinstall its Search app exclusively, protecting its search business from competition, and prevented Android phone makers from selling devices that run “forked” versions of the operating system.

Google denied these allegations, saying it would appeal, and said Android had created “more choice for everyone.”

The $5 billion fee remains the biggest antitrust fine issued by Europe’s competition regulator against a single firm, and cemented the reputation of the bloc’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, as the scourge of Silicon Valley.

Google has been facing mounting antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic, with attorney generals from 36 states – and Washington D.C. – recently lodging a complaint over its control of the Android app store.

Insider approached Google for comment.

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