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Google tells EU court payments to phone makers gave Android a chance against Apple

Google tells EU court payments to phone makers gave Android a chance against Apple
Google tells EU court payments to phone makers gave Android a chance against Apple   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p>By Foo Yun Chee</p> <p><span class="caps">LUXEMBOURG</span> – Payments to phone makers to pre-install only Google Search on their devices were not aimed at preventing competition but were necessary for Android to seize market share from Apple, Alphabet’s Google told Europe’s second-top court on Wednesday.</p> <p>Google was addressing the General Court on the third day of a week-long hearing as it tries to get judges to dismiss a record 4.3-billion-euro ($3.7 billion) EU antitrust fine and a European Commission order to loosen its search engine grip on Android devices. </p> <p>The EU competition watchdog had taken issue with two kinds of deals made with phone makers, one being payments for only pre-installing Google Search on their devices known as revenue sharing arrangements (<span class="caps">RSA</span>s) because these shut out rivals.</p> <p>This was not the case and the payments were just to encourage phone makers, which were already generating money from other apps, to give Android a place, Google lawyer Assimakis Komninos told the court.</p> <p>“Google had to offer an offsetting revenue stream. An incentive to convince them to open up and adopt the Android platform. At the same time, the <span class="caps">RSA</span>s also helped them to keep prices down and compete more successfully with Apple,” he said.</p> <p>“And obviously, Google was getting in return a promotional opportunity, sole preinstallation, which allowed it to invest in a free OS (operating system), a free app store and so on.”</p> <p>On top of that, the <span class="caps">RSA</span>s only covered 5% of the market, Komninos said.</p> <p>Commission lawyer Nicholas Khan rejected the claim.</p> <p>“What concerned them was competitors gaining traction,” he said and the <span class="caps">RDA</span>s were “the pinnacle of Google’s interlocking practices”.</p> <p>A verdict is likely to come next year. The case is T-604/18 Google vs European Commission</p> <p>($1 = 1.1714 euros)</p> <p/> </div>