Google hit with record 4.3-billion euro fine in EU over Android


The European Commission levied the fine Wednesday, decrying the Alphabet-owned company's tactics in forcing the manufacturers of Android smartphones to preinstall Google's own search services and Chrome browser, to give them preference over rival services.

The EU's decision would bring the running total of Google fines to 6.7 billion after last year's penalty over shopping-search services.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google went against EU rules when it required mobile phone producers to pre-install the Google Search and browser apps as a condition for licensing Google's app store. The EC has another antitrust case against Google opened over alleged abuse of the company's AdSense network.

The long-awaited decision comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount due to President Donald Trump's surprising decision to increase tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports and comes just one week before European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker is due to travel to the United States for sensitive talks on the tariffs dispute. "Today's decision and fine are a logical outcome, as this is a clear anticompetitive behavior to me".

Sundar Pichai has suggested that the EU's record $5 billion fine against Google will be bad for Android users.

Google immediately said it would appeal the massive fine.

European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager held a joint news conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday after slapping a record $5 billion antitrust penalty on the USA tech giant.

The commission ordered Google and its parent company, Alphabet, to stop those practices. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovations and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition.

The move could have a profound impact on Google, which derives significant revenue from the advertising it derives from Android devices.

'They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere'.

Google lost a similar battle in Russian Federation several months ago, but it only received a fine in the tens of millions of dollars.

It also argues that it allows other apps to be pre-installed alongside Google apps, and that agreements not to support altered versions of Android enable it to provide a baseline experience on tens of thousands of different devices. In 2016, Vestager issued a statement of objections against Google and Android. "So, Google developed a strategy to anticipate the effects of this shift, and to make sure that users would continue to use Google Search also on their mobile devices".

She is expected to announce a record fine against Google for using its Android mobile operating system to block rivals at the news conference. Google's appeal of the shopping decision is pending. 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.

Since then, Google has been fighting the case and it's now stuck in court.

Google prevented Android phone makers from selling devices that run "forked" versions of the operating system.