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Google Tells EU Court $5B Antitrust Fine Is Flawed

 |  September 30, 2021

According to Reuters, €4.34 billion (US$5 billion) European Union antitrust fine was based on flawed calculations, Alphabet’s Google claimed on Thursday, September 30, urging Europe’s second-highest court to scrap or reduce what it claimed was not an appropriate penalty.

Google was fined for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals and cement its dominance in general internet search from 2011, in the largest penalty meted out to any company found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules.

“The fine that was imposed, a staggering 4.34 billion euros, was not appropriate,” Google’s lawyer Genevra Forwood told the five-judge panel of the General Court on the fourth day of a week-long hearing, which is taking place three years after the European Commission sanctioned the company.

Related: Google Tells EU Court New Updates Give Android A Chance Against Apple

“The problem is not the headline-grabbing fine per se. The problem is how the Commission reached that figure,” she said.

Forwood said there was no anti-competitive intent in Google’s actions nor could it have known that its conduct was an abuse based on EU case law and there was no precedent for it.

“So it was wrong for the Commission to impose any fine at all, let alone turn up the dials to reach its biggest fine ever,” Forwood said.

She also took issue with the EU competition enforcer adding a 11% gravity factor to Google’s fine, compared with 5% for Intel in 2009 in a separate case.

“Even if this Court considers that a fine is appropriate, it would only be proper to turn the dials right down,” she said.