CJEU Case T-604/18 | Google and Alphabet v Commission (Google Android)

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Publication Date 2018-2022
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Information Guide focusing on Case T-604/18 from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which concerns the abuse of dominant position in the context of smart mobile devices, operating systems and search engines.

Further information:

Google undertakes most of its revenue from its flagship product, the search engine Google Search. The company's business model is based on the interaction between a number of products and services offered to users for the most part free of charge and online advertising services using data collected from those users. Google also offers the Android operation system (OS).

Various complaints were submitted to the European Commission regarding some of Google's business practices in the mobile internet, leading the Commission to initiate a procedure against Google in relation to Android in April 2015. In July 2018, the Commission fined Google for having abused its dominant position by imposing anticompetitive contractual restrictions on manufacturers of mobile devices and on mobile network operators, in some cases since January 2011. The fine of almost €4.343 billion was the largest ever imposed by a competition authority in Europe.

Google decided to bring an action before the General Court of the CJEU in October 2018, seeking to annul the Commission's decision, or in alternative to annul or reduce the fine imposed on the applicants. On 14 September 2022, the General Court decided to largely confirm the Commission's decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine. In order to reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement, the General Court considered it appropriate to impose a fine of €4.125 billion on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Geradin Partners: The Platform Law Blog, 04/10/2021: Some thoughts on the Google Android hearing before the General Court https://theplatformlaw.blog/2021/10/04/some-thoughts-on-the-google-android-hearing-before-the-general-court/
BEUC: Press Release, 14/09/2022: EU General Court sides with consumers in Google Android ruling https://www.beuc.eu/press-releases/eu-general-court-sides-consumers-google-android-ruling

Politico, 24/09/2021: Google fights record EU fine in marathon Android court hearing https://www.politico.eu/article/google-eu-fine-court-hearing-android-antitrust-margrethe-vestager-european-commission/
Sky News, 27/09/2021: Google's appeal against EU record £3.8bn fine starts today, as US cases threaten to break the company up https://news.sky.com/story/googles-appeal-against-eu-record-3-8bn-fine-starts-today-as-us-cases-threaten-to-break-the-company-up-12413655
Politico, 01/02/2022: Intel decision spells trouble for Vestager’s Google campaign https://www.politico.eu/article/intel-ruling-spells-trouble-for-vestagers-google-campaign/
Reuters, 21/03/2022: EU court to rule Sept. 14 on Google's fight against record $4.8 bln EU fine https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/eu-court-rule-sept-14-googles-fight-against-record-48-bln-eu-fine-2022-03-21/
RTÉ News, 14/09/2022: EU court upholds multi-billion euro fine against Google https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2022/0914/1323311-eu-court-backs-competition-decision-against-google/
Bloomberg, 14/09/2022: Google Suffers Setback in Court Fight to Topple Record EU Fine https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-14/google-loses-most-of-its-eu-case-over-record-android-fine?leadSource=uverify%20wall
TechCrunch, 14/09/2022: Google fails to overturn EU’s €4BN+ Android antitrust decision https://techcrunch.com/2022/09/14/google-eu-android-antirust-appeal-ruling/
Reuters, 14/09/2022: EU court backs EU antitrust decision against Google, trims fine https://www.reuters.com/technology/eu-court-backs-eu-antitrust-decision-against-google-trims-fine-2022-09-14/
The Guardian, 14/09/2022: Google fails to overturn €4bn fine over Android bundling https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/sep/14/google-fails-to-overturn-4bn-fine-over-android-bundling
The New York Times, 14/09/2022: E.U. Scores Major Legal Victory Against Google https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/14/business/eu-google-antitrust-fine.html
Deutsche Welle, 14/09/2022: Google: EU court confirms record €4 billion antitrust fine https://p.dw.com/p/4Goz4
Euronews, 14/09/2022: EU backs massive antitrust decision against Google but trims record fine https://www.euronews.com/next/2022/09/14/eu-backs-massive-antitrust-decision-against-google-but-trims-record-fine
EurActiv, 14/09/2022: EU court largely confirms Commission’s record fine against Google in landmark case https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/eu-court-largely-confirms-commissions-record-fine-against-google-in-landmark-case/
BBC News, 14/09/2022: Google loses appeal over record EU anti-trust Android fine https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-62888137
Le Monde, 14/09/2022: EU court largely upholds largest-ever antitrust fine for Google https://www.lemonde.fr/en/pixels/article/2022/09/14/eu-court-largely-upholds-its-largest-ever-antitrust-fine-for-google-android_5996894_13.html

CJEU CURIA: Case T-604/18 | Google and Alphabet v Commission (Google Android) https://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=T-604/18
CJEU: Press Release No 147/20, 14/09/2022: Judgment of the General Court in Case T-604/18 | Google and Alphabet v Commission (Google Android) https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2022-09/cp220147en.pdf

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