By Foo Yun Chee
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Google suffered one of its biggest setbacks on Wednesday after Europe’s second-top court upheld an EU antitrust decision against the Alphabet company for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals.
The company however had its fine reduced to 4.125 billion euros ($4.13 billion) from 4.34 billion after judges used a different reasoning from the European Commission. The amount is still a record for an antitrust violation.
The EU antitrust enforcer has imposed a total of 8.25 billion euros in antitrust fines on the world’s most popular internet search engine in three investigations stretching back more than a decade.
Here is a timeline of Google’s fight with the EU competition watchdog over its business practices, which have triggered numerous complaints by rivals on both sides of the Atlantic as well as consumer groups.
* 5 August 2022 – EU antitrust regulators have asked app developers whether Google’s threat to remove apps from its Play Store if they use other payment options instead of its own billing system has hurt their business, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* 7 July 2022 – EU antitrust regulators say they are investigating the video licensing policy of the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), whose members include Google, Amazon, Apple and Meta.
* 27 June 2022 – Google is the target of an antitrust complaint by Danish online job-search rival Jobindex which alleges that Google unfairly favoured its own job search service.
* 11 March 2022 – EU antitrust regulators opened an investigation into a 2018 online display advertising deal between Google and Meta known as Jedi Blue.
* Sept 27 2021 – Google challenges 4.34 billion euro EU Android fine at five-day hearing at the General Court.
* June 22 2021 – EU antitrust regulators open an investigation into Google’s digital advertising business to see if it favours its own services.
* June 9 2021 – Google bows to pressure from rivals and will let them compete for free to be the default search engines on Android devices in Europe, widening a pledge to EU antitrust regulators two years previously.
* March 20 2019 – EU antitrust enforcers hit Google with a 1.49 billion euro fine for hindering rivals in online search advertising for a decade.
* July 18 2018 – EU antitrust regulators hand down a record 4.34 billion euro fine to Google over its Android mobile operating system after a three-year investigation.
* June 27 2017 – EU fines Google 2.42 billion euros for thwarting rival shopping comparison websites.
* July 14 2016 – EU sets out another charge against Google’s shopping service. It also accuses the company of preventing third parties using its AdSense product from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors – a third case against the company.
* April 20 2016 – EU sends a charge sheet to Google outlining the company’s anti-competitive practices with regard to Android smartphone makers and apps makers.
* April 15 2015 – EU opens investigation into Google’s Android smartphone operating system.
* April 15 2015 – EU charges Google with blocking competitors of its price comparison shopping service.
* Sept 2014 – Joaquin Almunia, European Competition Commissioner at the time, says he will not be able to wrap up the Google case before his mandate ends in October.
* May 2014 – Almunia says feedback from complainants will be crucial to determining whether he accepts Google’s concessions.
* Feb 5 2014 – Google improves its concessions related to online search.
* 2013 – Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint about Google’s Android business practices to the European Commission.
* April 25 2013 – EU seeks feedback from rivals and users over Google’s concessions.
* April 3 2013 – Google offers concessions related to online search and its AdSense advertising network to address EU competition concerns, without admitting wrongdoing.
* Nov 30 2010 – European Commission opens investigation into allegations that Google has abused its dominant position in online searches following 18 complaints.
* 2010 – Microsoft complains about Google’s practices related to its AdSense advertising service.
* Nov 3 2009 – British price comparison site Foundem complains about Google’s online search to the European Commission.
($1 = 0.9999 euros)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans)