TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Monday, May 20, 2024

Google vs. EU, Part 2: Record EU fine set for Wednesday ruling

Google vs. EU, Part 2: Record EU fine set for Wednesday ruling

The decision comes as officials are still licking their wounds after two other court defeats.

Round 2 of Google vs. the European Commission comes on Wednesday when the European Union's General Court rules on a record €4.34 billion fine for the search giant in a landmark case over its efforts to dominate the mobile phone market.

While the Commission won a resounding victory when judges upheld its first Google investigation last year, the ruling on Google's mobile-phone operating system Android will come as antitrust officials are licking their wounds after two big court defeats that canceled fines for chip firms Qualcomm and Intel.

“If they lose key parts of the Android case next week, it would be a really bad outcome for the Commission,” said Dirk Auer, director of competition policy at the International Center for Law & Economics, a U.S.-based research center backed by institutions and industry partners. “It could mean that almost [a] decade of competition enforcement, in this case, would be in part rejected by judges in Luxembourg.”

The Android case focuses on three types of contracts Google signed with smartphone manufacturers and telecom operators, which helped it expand a search empire that now faces very little competition.

First was the so-called mobile application distribution agreements (MADA) which required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser systems in order to carry the company’s Play Store app. Anti-fragmentation agreements (AFAs) also forced smartphone makers to steer clear of running alternative versions of the Android operation system. Lastly, the Commission took umbrage at Google’s revenue sharing agreements (RSAs) which allowed search revenues to be shared with mobile operators and smartphone manufacturers.

The Commission's investigation was sparked by a 2013 complaint from FairSearch, whose members include Oracle and Nokia and previously included Microsoft. The group is spearheaded by Thomas Vinje, a campaigning lawyer whose complaints helped fuel an EU antitrust battle against Microsoft in the early 2000s.


Sharing revenues


The Commission’s reading that Google’s revenue-sharing agreements amounted to a form of exclusivity rebate could be one of the more vulnerable parts of the Commission’s decision that Luxembourg will judge next week.

“The EU courts are concerned that the Commission is not properly discharging its burden of proof when it comes to showing anti-competitive effects,” Auer said, referring to the recent EU court losses against Intel and Qualcomm, both cases of which involved rebate payments to buyers for exclusive deals.

“The key question is the extent to which the coverage of those revenue-share agreements is sufficient to qualify as an infringement,” said FairSearch's Vinje. “It’ll be interesting to see how the court writes that up, since the evidence is confidential.”

Vinje also warned that the EU’s investigation into Google’s anti-competitive conduct may also have run into “procedural issues” akin to the Intel and Qualcomm cases — a plea raised by Google as part of a September hearing.

As part of the five-day showdown, Google said its rights of defense had been infringed upon as part of the Commission’s lackluster following of protocol. The company’s lawyers accused Brussels of not transcribing interviews properly, thereby hindering Google from rebutting any claims made by rivals in closed-door talks.


The DMA remedy


Google was ordered to remedy its anticompetitive harm over mobile apps for search and in 2018 introduced a choice screen for search apps to bid to be shown as an alternative to Google's search app on new phones.

Competing firms in the search business are now relying on the European Union’s recently adopted Digital Markets Act (DMA) to ensure they get the changes they originally sought, almost a decade after FairSearch’s original complaint was filed


Smaller rivals Qwant and DuckDuckGo complained that this didn't go far enough to give them a chance to take on Google's power over apps. While Google was eventually forced to ditch a paid auction system, the Commission didn't bow to rivals in overhauling the choice screen system completely or rolling it out to all phones or devices.

"DG COMP never consulted us proactively on the remedies. We had to publicly ask for it in an open letter,” a DuckDuckGo spokesperson said. “This ultimately led to limited improvements but since then we've had a constructive working relationship."

“The problem was that they didn't have a good remedy because they told Google to solve the problem itself,” added Alexandre De Streel, academic director at the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), whose members include Google and Microsoft, but also smaller companies such as DuckDuckGo.

Competing firms in the search business are now relying on the European Union’s recently adopted Digital Markets Act (DMA) to ensure they get the changes they originally sought, almost a decade after FairSearch’s original complaint was filed.

The rules — which will enter into force later this year — include forcing so-called gatekeepers such as Google to implement choice screens that allow users to change default settings when they first use a new system, as well as the obligation for firms not to prevent users from un-installing apps on their operating systems. Both concepts stem from the Android case.

“What the court will say next week could be interesting in interpreting those provisions,” De Streel said. “However, if the Commission loses aspects of the case, I don’t think it undermines the DMA, because it’s a different legal instrument that has the objective of ensuring contestability and fairness.”

For Vinje, the DMA is the ultimate answer.

"If the Commission were to lose on some of this, the DMA will kick in in the not-too-distant future and it’ll prohibit a lot of the same abuses,” he said.

The case number for the Google Android judgment is T-604/18.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×