Payments made to manufacturers to pre-install Google Search exclusively on smartphones were necessary to gain market share from Apple. That is what Alphabet says in a lawsuit in which it is challenging a fine of 4.3 billion euros from the European Commission.
“The payments were supposed to motivate smartphone manufacturers to use Android. The payments allowed them to keep their prices low and to compete with Apple,” Alphabet lawyer Assimakis Komninos told the European court, according to Reuters. Alphabet is trying this week to get out of the fine of 4.3 billion euros with this argument, among other things. That came in 2018 after the European Commission accused Google of committing three violations.
First of all, pre-installing Google Search exclusively on smartphones from third-party manufacturers would be a means by Alphabet to strengthen the dominant position of its search engine. “That is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” it said in 2018. The European Commission: “Google paid significant financial incentives to some of the largest device manufacturers and operators on the condition that they use their full range of Android devices. pre-install only Google Search, which harms competition by significantly reducing their incentives to install competing apps.”
The Commission also accused Google of illegally tying the Google Chrome browser and Google Search. According to the Commission, the company offered its services as a package that incorporated these apps and services together with the Google Play Services. “Google’s license terms make it impossible for manufacturers to pre-install some apps and not others,” it said.
Finally, according to the European Commission, Google would have prevented manufacturers from developing their own versions of Android. “That was a prerequisite for being able to offer the Play Store and Google Search on the devices and as a result, users were deprived of innovation,” said the Commission. The fine imposed by the European Commission in 2018 was then the highest it had ever imposed.
Update, 6.35 pm: the term ‘exclusively’ was an important addition in this article. This was missing from the introduction and was added later. Thanks to CyberMania.