The crackdown on foreign tech powerhouses continues, as the behemoths are finding it hard to blatantly flout laws, abuse their dominance, and get away with it. This was underlined once again on Wednesday, after Google failed to get a multi-billion-dollar fine overturned.

This is part of a wider set of antitrust penalties that Google is currently facing in Europe — an amount that adds up to upwards of an astonishing €8Bn.

The General Court of the European Union (EU) upheld the €4.34 billion antitrust fine handed down by EU four years ago, confirming in a ruling that Google had abused its dominance in the market and imposed “unlawful restrictions” on the makers of Android mobile devices.

However, it did reduce the amount of the fine to €4.125 billion ($4.12 billion), claiming that its reasoning differed “in certain respects” to the Commission’s.

This is perhaps the best outcome Google can hope for unless it appeals against the decision. If it does intend to appeal to the European Court of Justice (CJEU), which is the bloc’s top court, then it has to do so within the time limit — within two months and ten days.

“The General Court largely confirms the Commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine.

In order better to reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement, the General Court considers it appropriate however to impose a fine of €4.125billion on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission,” said a spokesperson for the Court.

“We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world,” a spokesperson for Google said.

Google’s failure to avoid being handed the fine is the latest development in a 2018 case, when the European Commission handed Google with a record fine of €4.34 billion. At that time, it was found to have violated the rules when it comes to operating its Android mobile OS to further solidify its position in the internet search sector (where it is already one of the biggest names).

It maintained that the Mountain View-headquartered powerhouse required mobile network operators and certain large manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search and Play Store apps on their devices and not use unlicensed versions of the operating system developed by third parties.

If nothing else, this is a major victory for the EU, which has been cracking down hard on foreign brands – such as Amazon, Apple and Meta. It has already been investigating the commission levied by Apple’s App Store commission, as well as probing whether Meta and Google indulged in anti-competitive practices for online display advertising services.