- Google says Android is an outstanding achievement from the competition
- EU says Apple is not a rival due to smaller market share
- The court verdict could come next year
LUXEMBOURG, September 27 (Reuters) – Alphabet Unit (GOOGL.O) Google criticized EU antitrust regulators on Monday for ignoring rival Apple (AAPL.O) as it launched a bid for the second European court overturns a record 4.34 billion euros ($ 5.1 billion) fine related to its Android operating system.
Far from slowing down competitors and hurting users, Android has been a huge competitive achievement at work, Google representatives told a panel of five judges at the Luxembourg Court at the start of a five-day hearing.
The European Commission fined Google in 2018, claiming it had been using Android since 2011 to thwart rivals and consolidate its dominance in general internet search.
“The Commission has turned a blind eye to the real competitive dynamics in this industry, that between Apple and Android,” Google lawyer Meredith Pickford told the court.
“By defining markets too narrowly and downplaying the powerful constraint imposed by the all-powerful Apple, the Commission wrongly found that Google was dominant in mobile operating systems and app stores, while it it was in fact a vigorous market disruptor, “he said.
Pickford said Android “is an outstanding achievement in the power of competition in action”.
Commission lawyer Nicholas Khan rejected Apple’s role because of its small market share compared to Android.
âBringing Apple into the game doesn’t change much. Google and Apple are pursuing different models, âhe told the court.
âGoogle’s conduct has denied any competitive opportunity,â he said, citing deals that required phone makers to preinstall Google Search, Chrome Browser, and the Google Play app store on their Android devices. , and payments for preinstalling only Google search.
Android, free for device makers, is found on around 80% of smartphones worldwide. The case is the most important of the three European Union cases against Google due to the market power of Android. Google has racked up more than 8 billion euros in antitrust fines in the EU over the past decade.
German phone maker Gigaset Communications GmbH, which backs Google, said its success was due to Android’s open platform and lamented the negative impact of the Commission’s decision on its business.
“The license fee of the Play Store that Google now charges following the contested decision represents a significant part of the price of Gigaset smartphones intended for price-sensitive consumers”, declared his lawyer Jean-FranÃ§ois Bellis in court.
Lobbying group FairSearch, whose complaint sparked the Commission’s case, was scathing about Google’s tactics with phone makers, however.
“Google adopted a classic bait and change strategy. It (them) latched onto a supposedly free and open source operating system subsidized by its search monopoly, and then shut it down to competition. through the network of restrictions involved in this case, âhe added. lawyer Thomas Vinje told the court.
A verdict could fall next year. The case is T-604/18 Google v European Commission.
(This story corrects the name of Google’s lawyer)
($ 1 = â¬ 0.8537)
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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