European Union fines Google a record $5 billion over mobile system

Marcus Newton
July 19, 2018

But Brussels has had United States tech giants in its sights for a decade in a half, since it imposed a huge 497 million euro fine on Microsoft in 2004 for anti-competitive behaviour and ruled it must make changes to its Windows system.

Google is bracing itself to be hit with a 4.3 billion euro ($5 billion) fine as a result of its Android operating system strategy, the BBC reports.

Google (googl) also broke the rules by stopping manufacturers who preinstall Google's Android apps from selling phones using a non-Google version of Android.

The commission accused Google of plotting for years to maintain its stranglehold on the internet-search market.

The Google CEO said the EU's decision ignores the fact that Android has to compete with Apple, and the choice the mobile operating system offers billions of consumers around the world.

The Commission's decision was delayed by a week by US President Donald Trump's visit to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels last week. "Today's decision and fine are a logical effect, as this is a clear anticompetitive behavior to me".

"We want Google to end its illegal behavior", says European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, per the Guardian, and the regulator hopes a record $5.06 billion fine will compel it to do so.

Google immediately said it would appeal the massive fine. Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. "A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are the classic hallmarks of robust competition". Google owner Alphabet Inc. and the commission both declined to comment on the Android fines. That's because they prevented other mobile browsers from competing effectively with the pre-installed Google Chrome browser. Competitors have long complained that Android's dominance gives Google an unfair advantage in attracting users to those apps-and then using data from them to devise and target advertising.

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The fine will be announced during a press conference in Brussels at 1pm local time today (12pm BST/7pm ET).

With the decision, the European Union argues that Google behaved illegally by leveraging its market power to encourage handset makers to pre-install those apps and services on their devices.

In the case of pre-installing Search and Chrome in Android, Vestager's office said that Google has created a "status quo bias".

Google will have 90 days change its illegal practices, but it seems unlikely that the tech giant will comply so soon, so don't hold your breath.

And finally, Google stopping manufacturers from running alternative versions of Android. "The Commission would have to determine such non-compliance in a separate decision, with any payment backdated to when the non-compliance started", it said.

Google is appealing that fine, and will appeal the new one too.

Regulators rejected arguments that Apple Inc. competes with Android, saying Apple's phone software can't be licensed by handset makers and that Apple phones are often priced outside many Android users' purchasing power.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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