The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.
The European Commission claims Google has abused its Android dominance in three areas breaching the EU’s antitrust law.
In a case similar to Microsoft’s forced bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows many moons ago, Google is being thrust into the spotlight for doing the same. Google currently require Chrome & Google Play to be bundled in Android installs by phone manufacturers and telcos, which the EU has taken umbrage.
The requirements also mean that Google is the only search engine available to Android users, with no alternative options presented.
Google has naturally said they’ll appeal the decision, a process they’re all too familiar with as they’re currently appealing another EU fine over manipulating search results.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, has also come out to state the company’s position and in a round about way threatened a retaliation for the judgement could be that Android is no longer free to use. Pichai arguing that the removal of the company’s apps would result in a direct loss of revenue that keeps the operating available without cost.
This one’s going to be back and forth for years, as with any of the EU’s many cases against tech companies (Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook) but it’s one that pundits are arguing could be a tipping point for the company should it be upheld.
Source: European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine