LUXEMBOURG — A 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) EU antitrust fine was based on flawed calculations, Alphabet’s Google urged Europe’s second-highest court on Thursday to scrap or reduce what it says is appropriate. There was no fine.
Google was fined for using its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals and consolidate its dominance in general Internet search since 2011 for anyone found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules. The biggest penalty the company received was
Google’s lawyer, Genevra Forwood, told the General Court’s five-judge panel on the fourth day of a week-long hearing three years later, “the €4.34 billion fine that was imposed was not justified.” The European Commission approved the company.
“The problem is not headline-grabbing fines. The problem is how the commission reached that figure,” she said.
Forewood said Google’s actions had no anti-competitive intent nor could it know that its conduct was an abuse based on EU case law and that there was no precedent for it.
“So it was wrong for the commission to impose any fines, let alone turning the dial to reach the biggest fine ever,” Forwood said.
It also took issue with the EU competition promoter in a separate case adding an 11 percent gravity factor to Google’s fines, compared to 5 percent for Intel in 2009.
“Even if this court considers that the fine is justified, it would be appropriate to just turn the dial down,” she said.
However, European Commission lawyer Anthony Dawes said Google “simply cannot be ignorant of the anti-competitive behavior of its practices”.
“Reckless breaches are no less serious than those committed intentionally,” Dawes said, adding that the fines amounted to just 4.5 percent of Google’s revenue in 2017 versus the 10 percent cap allowed under EU rules.
The decision is likely to come next year. Case T-604/18 Google v. European Commission.
by Fu Yun Chi
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times