Google Attempts To Throw Apple Under The Bus Amid EU Antitrust Crackdown
Misery loves company, right? Just ask Google—the company is seething over a massive fine over Android abuses that was imposed by the European Union three years ago, and has lashed out at the group for essentially turning a blind eye to the "real competitive dynamic" that exists between it and rival Apple. The EU has so far not been swayed.
Back in 2018, the EU fined Google 4.34 billion euros, which converts to more than $5 billion in US currency. The EU's ruling took issue with some of Google's requirements for device makers who want to sell Android phones and tablets. It was not on board with Google making it mandatory that Chrome and its on Search be included if allowing access to the Play Store, for example.
Google has disputed the ruling and subsequent record fine, and now it has dragged Apple's name into the mix. According to Reuters, Google accused the EU of failing to recognize the company as a "disrupter" while simultaneously ignoring the "potent constraint imposed by the highly powerful Apple." Hello bus, meet Apple.
"The Commission shut its eyes to the real competitive dynamic in this industry, that between Apple and Android," Google's lawyer Meredith Pickford said. "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.."
Google's legal stance is that the EU has the competitive dynamic all wrong. And taking things a step further, Pickford called Android "an exceptional success story of the power of competition in action." The suggestion is that if Google and its business practices related to Android were removed from the equation, consumers would be worse off, with Apple having too much control.
A lawyer for the European Commission countered that invoking Apple's name "doesn't change things very much," because they have different business models at play. So even though they are competitors in the mobile space, Google was still able to restrict competition by forcing phone makers to preinstall Chrome and Google Search.
Adding to the intrigue, German phone maker Gigaset Communications argued on Google's behalf, saying it owes its success to Android being an open platform, and that the Commission's ruling led to a license fee for the Play Store that has forced it to increase the cost of it handsets.
All of this came on the first of a five-day hearing. Ultimately, however, a verdict might not be reached until next year.