European Union regulators have imposed a record-setting €4.3 billion ($5 billion USD) fine on Google for antitrust violations. The European Commission insists Google abused the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.
European officials say Google’s parent company Alphabet has unfairly favored its own services by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google apps Chrome and Search in a bundle with its app store. A statement also noted that Google violated competition rules by paying phone makers to exclusively pre-install Google search on their devices, also preventing them from selling phones that run other modified versions of Android.
In addition, the European Commission has ordered the company to end this illegal conduct within 90 days, or else face additional charges of up to five percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide revenue. This EU fine is the largest ever issued to Google, and last year the company was served with a $2.7 billion USD penalty over manipulated search results.
The EU pointed to Apple in its decision, Google’s top competitor in the smartphone market, saying the company did “not sufficiently constrain” Google. Apple also pre-installs a number of apps on its iPhone models, however.
Google said in a statement that it would appeal the EU’s ruling. In a blog post, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, wrote that the commission ignored “the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones,” adding that the decision did not consider the choice Android offers to phone makers, mobile network operators, app developers and consumers.
Rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. Android has enabled this and created more choice for everyone, not less. This is why we intend to appeal today's Android decision https://t.co/TnpMZlDV8j
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) July 18, 2018
He also defends the company’s app bundling, arguing it’s easy for users to install alternatives if they don’t want to use Google’s pre-installed options. The EU decision, he said, could “upset the careful balance” Google has with Android. The company lets phone makers use the open source software for free, but generates ad revenue when consumers use its apps.
You can read the full statement from the European Commission here.
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