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European General Court Largely Upholds Record EU Antitrust Fine Against Google For Abusive Restrictions Cementing Its Dominance – Antitrust, EU Competition


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On the 14th of September 2022, the European General Court
(“EGC”) delivered its judgement on Google’s antitrust
case. The EGC largely upheld the European Commission’s
(“EC”) 2018 ruling to impose an antitrust fine on Google,
but with a slight reduction of the fine from ?4.343bn to ?4.125bn
to “better reflect the gravity and duration of the

In 2018, the EC fined Google for abusing its dominant position
by illegally imposing anticompetitive contractual restrictions on
Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators,
infringing Article 102 of the TFEU and Article 54 of the Agreement
on the European Economic Area (EEA).

Below are some of the key findings of the EC, as upheld by the

  1. Google requires mobile device manufacturers to pre-install
    Google Search and Chrome in order to obtain a licence to use Play
    Store. Such a requirement is abusive as it granted Google a
    significant competitive advantage which could give rise to a
    “status quo bias” due to users’ tendency to use the
    browser apps available to them.

  2. Google’s restrictions in “anti-fragmentation
    agreements” are abusive as they strengthened Google’s
    dominant position (on the market for general search devices), in so
    far as it limits the diversity of services available to users and
    deters innovation.

However, the EGC annulled a part of the EC’s findings, e.g.
where the EC found that Google’s “sole pre-installation
condition” in its portfolio-based revenue share agreements is
abusive. Despite this, the ?4.125bn fine is a record-breaking EU
antitrust fine, marking a major step in the regulation of
technological giants to ensure fair competition. Google stated its
disappointment in not having the EC’s decision annulled in

Apart from this latest fine, Google is currently awaiting
judgement on its appeal against the EGC’s ?2.42bn fine for the
abuse of its dominance in the search engine market (Google and
Alphabet v Commission (Google Shopping), T-612/17).

The press release of the European General Court can be accessed

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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