google

Google and the European Union have kicked off a five-day court battle, with the US tech giant seeking to overturn a $4.34 billion fine issued by the bloc in 2018.

The fine came during a turbulent period in the relations between Google and the EU, as it was sanctioned €2.4 billion, €4.34 billion, and €1.49 billion in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

These related to allegations of anti-competitive behaviour involving shopping, the company’s mobile operating system, and search advertising.

In the second case, European authorities claimed Google had abused its dominant Android mobile operating system to consolidate the poularity of its own apps and services – forcing phone manufacturers to preinstall its Chrome browser and search app to access its App Store.

These were part of a wave of cases launched by EU competition tsar Margrethe Vestager, who has floated competition probes into a number of leading tech companies worldwide.

At the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg this week, the company’s lawyers will aim to overturn the €4.34 billion fine, which is the EU’s highest antitrust penalty ever, reiterating previous claims the case is not supported by “the facts or the law.”

The company’s search engine, central to this case, and the revenue it generates, is a key part of the company’s overall profit model.

Google’s lawyers will be arguing that its contracts with smartphone makers and mobile telecoms operators did not breach competition laws by cementing the dominance of its search engine.

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