Google is in court fighting a €4.34 billion ($5.1 billion) fine issued in 2018 by European Union regulators over Android’s market dominance. It’s argument: that regulators are ignoring Apple, its biggest competitor.
The EU slapped the massive fine on Google after ruling that the company used its dominance to require its own Search and Chrome apps to be installed on the best Android phones in order to gain access to the Play Store.
Regulators also found that Google would pay manufacturers to pre-install its apps on their phones to further its dominance in search and discourage manufacturers from selling smart devices with forked versions of Android.
According to Reuters, Google Google lawyer Meredith Pickford argues that regulators aren’t taking Apple’s iOS into account.
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.
Meanwhile, the Commission argues that Apple’s market share is too small to really matter. Commission lawyer Nicholas Khan says that bringing Apple into the equation “doesn’t change things very much. Google and Apple pursue different models.”
Following the 2018 fine, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has since responded by defending the company’s position, stating that it has created more choice, not less, by offering plenty of device types and different price points.
Google has also implemented several changes in how it bundles apps and allowing forked devices. However, it seems as though Google will need to make a stronger case for itself and Apple’s role in the market if it wants to avoid paying up.