Google’s long battle with EU antitrust regulators By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is seen during the gathering of startups and tech leaders, Viva Tech, in Paris, France May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

By Foo Yun Chee

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Google suffered one of its biggest setbacks on Wednesday after the second European court upheld an EU antitrust ruling against Alphabet (NASDAQ:) for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart his rivals.

The company, however, saw its fine reduced to 4.125 billion euros ($4.13 billion) from 4.34 billion after judges used different reasoning than the European Commission. The amount is still a record for an antitrust violation.

The EU’s antitrust authority has imposed a total of €8.25 billion in antitrust fines on the world’s most popular internet search engine in three investigations dating back more than a decade.

Here’s a timeline of Google’s fight with the EU’s competition watchdog over its business practices, which sparked numerous complaints from rivals on both sides of the Atlantic as well as groups of consumers.

* August 5, 2022 – EU antitrust regulators have asked app developers whether Google’s threat to remove apps from its Play Store if they use other payment options instead of its own billing system had harmed their business, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

*July 7, 2022 – EU antitrust regulators say they are investigating the video licensing policy of the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), whose members include Google, Amazon (NASDAQ:), Apple (NASDAQ:) and Meta .

* June 27, 2022 – Google is the target of an antitrust complaint from Danish online job search rival Jobindex, which alleges that Google unfairly favored its own job search service.

* March 11, 2022 – EU antitrust regulators have opened an investigation into a 2018 online display advertising deal between Google and Meta known as Jedi Blue.

* September 27, 2021 – Google is challenging a €4.34 billion EU fine for Android in a five-day hearing before the General Court.

* June 22, 2021 – EU antitrust regulators are opening an investigation into Google’s digital advertising business to see if it favors its own services.

* June 9, 2021 – Google bows to pressure from rivals and will let them compete for free to be the default search engines on Android devices in Europe, expanding a pledge to EU antitrust regulators two years prior.

* March 20, 2019 – EU antitrust authorities fine Google €1.49 billion for hampering rivals in online search advertising for a decade.

* July 18, 2018 – EU antitrust regulators impose a record €4.34 billion fine on Google over its Android mobile operating system after a three-year investigation.

* June 27, 2017 – EU fines Google €2.42 billion for thwarting competing comparison shopping sites.

* July 14, 2016 – EU lays down another charge against Google’s shopping service. It also accuses the company of blocking third parties using its AdSense product from displaying search ads from Google’s competitors – a third case against the company.

* April 20, 2016 – EU sends an indictment to Google outlining the company’s anti-competitive practices against makers of Android smartphones and apps.

* April 15, 2015 – EU launches investigation into Google’s Android smartphone operating system.

* April 15, 2015 – EU accuses Google of blocking competitors from its comparison shopping service.

* September 2014 – Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner at the time, says he won’t be able to close the Google deal until his term ends in October.

* May 2014 – Almunia says comments from complainants will be crucial in determining whether he accepts Google’s concessions.

* February 5, 2014 – Google is improving its online search concessions.

* 2013 – Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint against Google’s Android business practices with the European Commission.

* April 25, 2013 – EU seeks feedback from rivals and users on Google concessions.

* April 3, 2013 – Google offers concessions related to online search and its AdSense ad network to address EU competition concerns, without admitting wrongdoing.

* November 30, 2010 – The European Commission is opening an investigation into allegations that Google abused its dominant position in online searches following 18 complaints.

* 2010 – Microsoft (NASDAQ:) complains about Google’s practices related to its AdSense advertising service.

* November 3, 2009 – UK price comparison site Foundem complains about Google’s online search to the European Commission.

($1 = 0.9999 euros)

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