Sep 14, 2022 - Technology

Google loses EU appeal and is fined a record $4 billion

Illustration of the EU flag with downward facing cursor arrows in place of stars
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Google suffered a significant loss Wednesday when a European court denied its appeal of an antitrust decision and issued a fine of 4.1 billion euro ($4.13 billion), a record penalty.

Driving the news: Google had challenged an earlier EU ruling that said it used its Android mobile operating system to stymie rivals, but Europe's second-highest court upheld it.

Why it matters: The hefty fine and ruling is a win for top EU antitrust official Margrethe Vestager, who has aggressively prosecuted Big Tech companies, and could set a precedent for future European antitrust rulings covering tech giants.

What they're saying: "The General Court largely confirms 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," the court said.

  • The court did find in Google's favor on one point regarding revenue-sharing with mobile device makers and carriers and slightly reduced the penalty.

The other side: “We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world," a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Flashback: This is Google's third EU antitrust fine. Previously, the search giant was fined in a shopping case and an online advertising case.

The big picture: The company is also facing a slew of antitrust suits and inquiries in the U.S.

What's next: Google can appeal the ruling to the EU Court of Justice, Europe's highest court.

Go deeper