By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Alphabet unit Google <GOOGL.O> on Tuesday challenged a record 4.34-billion euro (£3.8 billion) fine imposed by European Union antitrust regulators three months ago for using its popular Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals.
“We have now filed our appeal of the EC’s Android decision at the General Court of the EU,” Google said in an email. It had previously said it would take the case to Europe’s second highest court in Luxembourg.
The company referred to arguments put forward by Chief Executive Sundar Pichai on the day of the EU ruling in July, of which the main one is that Android has created more choice for consumers, not less.
The European Commission in its July decision said Google had abused its market dominance since 2011. Android, used by device makers for free, is found on about 80 percent of the world’s smartphones.
EU competition enforcers had said Google’s illegal practices included forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser together with its Google Play app store on their Android devices,
The EU antitrust authorities said the company also paid manufacturers to pre-install only Google Search and blocked them from using rival Android systems.
The complex case could take several years before judges rule on it. A final appeal is possible at Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, but only on points of law.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jane Merriman)