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EU Fines Google $5 Billion for Breaching Antitrust Rules in Android

EU Fines Google $5 Billion for Breaching Antitrust Rules in Android

Google is preparing itself to be been slapped with a record-breaking fine from the European Union, tipped to be nearly $5 billion (£3.8 billion).

[T] he bloc's antitrust regulator found Wednesday that Google had abused the dominance of its Android operating system, which runs more than 80 percent of the world's smartphones, to promote and entrench its own mobile apps and services, particularly the company's search engine.

The EU Commission said that Google committed antitrust violations in three ways: It required manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Chrome browser on Android devices, paid manufacturers and mobile operators on the condition that they exclusively install the Google search app, and prevented manufacturers from selling any mobile devices running Android forks not approved by Google. She said that European Union antitrust laws put a "special responsibility" on dominant businesses, meaning they can not deny other companies the chance "to compete with them on merit".

The tech giant plans to appeal the decision, a Google spokesperson tells NPR.

Smartphone makers are allegedly discouraged from releasing devices that are based on the Android open source code but not affiliated with the Google-owned property. "We intend to appeal", Pichai said. It's the highest anti-competition penalty ever imposed on a company by the EU. The Washington-based Computer and Communications Industry Association said the European Union decision was "problematic", adding: "In this case it is clear that Android has brought more competition".

At the time, the European Commission said it wanted to ensure that manufacturers are free to pre-install apps of their choosing and allow for competition in services such as internet search.

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If Google doesn't pay the fine within 90 days, it'll face an additional fine: up to 5 percent of its worldwide daily revenue for each day it's late. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovations and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. But Google will be forced to make significant changes to the way Android works, and ink new deals with European carriers as well as Android device makers. Manufacturers looking to provide buyers with access to the Google Play Store also had to give other Google apps prime placement on the phone, including Google Search. Rivals couldn't compete with these payments, making it hard for any other search engine to get their app pre-installed.

The fine accounts for around 40% of Google's 2017 net profit of $12.62 billion.

Google has argued that its practices have not reduced consumer choice. National competition authorities met earlier on Tuesday to agree on the fine, one person said. This means that people are far more likely to use search apps and browsers already present on their devices, and are unlikely to download competing apps.

Smartphone makers could still include Chrome and Google Search, but they wouldn't be bound to do so.

And the decision cites Google's efforts to prevent any alternative versions of the Android system from being developed and deployed.

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