Google criticizes the European Union for ignoring Apple
Google criticizes the European Union for ignoring Apple

Google has criticized the European Union's antitrust agency for ignoring rival Apple when it tried to get Europe's second highest court to impose a record 4.34 billion euros ($5.1 billion) fine related to the Android operating system to strike it down.

At the start of the hearing, a company official told a panel of five lay judges that Android is far from reining in competitors and hurting users, but it has been a major competitive success in business.

The European Commission fined the search giant in 2018 for using Android since 2011 to thwart its competitors and cement its dominance in public internet searches.

Regardless of court rulings, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon will have to change their business models in the next few years by sticking to tough new rules proposed by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestague to ensure a level playing field for competitors.

"The commission ignored the real competitive dynamics in this industry, the competition between Apple and Android," Google attorney Meredith Pickford said in court.

"By over-defining the market and underestimating the tough restrictions imposed by the powerful Apple, the panel erroneously believed that Google was dominant in its mobile operating systems and app stores," he said.

According to Bickford, Android is a massive achievement when it comes to competition in the workplace. But the commission's attorney, Nicholas Kahn, dismissed Apple's role because of its small market share compared to Android. He told the court that not much had changed with the addition of Apple. Google and Apple have two different models.

Khan cites the search giant's agreement that mobile phone manufacturers must pre-install search, browser and app store on their Android devices and pay for pre-installation of their research as non-competitive behavior.

Google says Android is an exceptional competitive success story

Android is free for device manufacturers and about 80% of smartphones around the world are equipped with Android.

Given Android's market power, this case is the most significant of the three lawsuits the European Union has brought against the company.

Over the past decade, Google has had to pay antitrust fines of more than 8 billion euros in the European Union.

German mobile phone maker Gigaset has said its success as a European smartphone manufacturer is due to the open Android platform. She regretted the negative impact of the Committee's decision on its work.

The company's lawyer, Jean-Francois Bellis, said in court: "Due to a controversial ruling, the company's current Google Play Store license fee represents the cost of Gigaset smartphones for price-sensitive consumers. A significant portion of the price."

The lobby group FairSearch criticized Google's strategy against mobile phone manufacturers and their complaint sparked a lawsuit by the committee.

"Google followed a classic strategy," Thomas Finch, the organization's attorney, said in court. These companies are associated with a so-called free and open source operating system backed by a research monopoly. The system prohibits competition by restricting the network concerned in this regard.

Google defends agreements with mobile phone manufacturers

The company said transactions with Android phone makers were fined a record $4.3 billion ($5 billion) antitrust fine, boosting competition. He rejects EU accusations that it is a stick-and-stick strategy to stifle rivals.

The company's lawyers and the European Union's chief competition officer have argued over Mada's Mobile App Distribution Agreement, which requires mobile phone manufacturers to pre-install the search app and Google's browser in exchange for a free license from Google Play.

“This licensing model provides device manufacturers with an incentive to use the Android platform in order to deliver a consistent, high-quality user experience at the lowest possible price,” corporate attorney Alfonso La Madrid told the ordinary courts.

Carlos Urraca Cavides, the commission's attorney, refuted this argument. He described these transactions and other restrictions as the company's carrot and stick policy toward mobile phone manufacturers.

He told the court that doing so would help Google ensure that its competitors did not gain the critical mass needed to challenge its dominance.

Given the company's market strength as the world's most popular Internet search engine and its large number of users, such transactions are unnecessary. What the company has done goes beyond what is required to develop and maintain the Android platform.

Paying Android phone manufacturers gives a chance to fight Apple

Paying cell phone manufacturers to pre-install Google search on their devices isn't meant to stifle competition. However, it is imperative that Android capture Apple's market share.

European Union competition regulators and mobile phone manufacturers face two types of transactions. One is the cost of pre-installing Google Search on their device, known as RSAs, as these agreements discourage competitors.

This is not the case, the company's lawyer, Asimakis Komnenos, said in court. These payments are designed to encourage mobile phone manufacturers to make money from other apps to donate a place for Android.

"Google needs to provide a source of offset revenue," he said. Encourage them to open up and embrace the Android platform. At the same time, RSA also helped them keep prices lower and better compete with Apple.

He added: It is clear that Google gets in return for advertising opportunities. This makes it possible to invest in free operating systems, free app stores, etc.

In addition, revenue sharing agreements cover 5% of the market, Komnenos said. UNHCR lawyer Nicholas Kahn denied this statement. His concern, he said, is that competition is gaining momentum and that RSA is the culmination of Google's complex approach.

The verdict in this case could be pronounced next year.

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