Google was hit with a huge $5.1 billion fine over its Play Store anti-competitive practices by the EU. Now, the company has dragged rival Apple into its court proceedings by accusing EU antitrust regulators of ignoring Apple, as it makes its case at Europe’s second-highest court to annul the fine.
In 2018, Google was fined by the EU commission for using Android since 2011 to maintain its dominance in search engines. The company was found guilty of forcing Android manufacturers to ship devices with pre-installed Google search, Chrome, and Play Store which put competitors at a disadvantage.
EU says Apple has a smaller market share in the region than Google
During its five-days hearing at the General Court, Google tried to divert the court’s attention to Apple. Reuter reports that the company’s lawyer Meredith Pickford argued that the real competition was between Apple and Android, not Google and Android. And the commission has wrongfully ignored Apple’s anti-competitive control of the App Store. He said:
“The Commission shut its eyes to the real competitive dynamic in this industry, that between Apple and Android
“By defining markets too narrowly and downplaying the potent constraint imposed by the highly powerful Apple, the Commission has mistakenly found Google to be dominant in mobile operating systems and app stores, when it was in fact a vigorous market disrupter.”
Unlike iOS, Android is an open platform that allows users to download third-party apps outside the Play Store which Google argues is promoting competition not crushing it. Pickford told the court that Google has been a “massive success story of competition at work”.
However, the commission’s lawyer Nicholas Khan “dismissed” the accusation saying that Android has a bigger market share than Apple. Android is on 80% of the world’s smartphones. He said Google’s dominance as an incumbent and the immense barriers for rivals resulted in “a virtuous circle for Google but a vicious circle for anybody else”.