EU Issues $5 Billion Antitrust Fine for Android Abuses

Share

The Commission said it was issuing a fine of 4.34 billion euro (£3.9 billion) over restrictions placed on mobile phone manufacturers using Android to drive internet traffic to Google's own search engine.

Google made payments to certain (unspecified) large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install the Google Search app on devices.

Last year, Google was hit with a record European Union antitrust fine of €2.4 billion ($2.8 billion) for prioritizing its shopping service over competitors in search. In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. She continued to say Google has been "denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits". Described by the Wall Street Journal as the EU's "sharpest rebuke yet" to the power wielded by the upper echelon of tech companies, the bloc on Wednesday imposed the fine and ordered Google to stop pushing its apps in a way that stymies competitors.

According to Bloomberg, Google chief Sundar Pichai had a last-minute call with Vestager late Tuesday, which is unusual practice in European Union antitrust cases.

The EU previously fined Google €2.4B ($2.8B) over a separate investigation into its shopping comparison service.

A Google spokesman said that the company would comment on the decision later Wednesday.

But the impact of the EU's decision to fine Google over Android dominance could be more than just monetary. (Google has appealed the amount of that fine.) The much higher figure reflects the fact that search has a much bigger impact than shopping on Google's bottom line.

More news: Anderson, Isner demand change after epic as Nadal and Djokovic halted

In order to pre-install Google's apps - including the Play Store and Google Search - on their devices, manufacturers had to commit not to develop or sell even a single device running on an Android fork. "The decision also requires Google to refrain from any measure that has the same or an equivalent object or effect as these practices".

Google's web search, advertising, and mobile operating system products have an enormous hold of market share individually, which has won the company a lot of criticism.

This latest complaint was formally lodged in April and also accuses Google of preventing manufacturers from selling smartphones that run on rival operating systems based on the open-source Android code.

In addition, her team has a third investigation underway into Google's advert-placing business AdSense.

"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less", the company said.

Google lost a similar battle in Russian Federation several months ago, but it only received a fine in the tens of millions of dollars. "This is a clear restriction of competition which hurts European consumers", said Monique Goyens, head of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC).

Share