Google fined EUR 4.34 billion by EU regulators over Android antitrust violations

EPA/WALTER BIERI

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European Commission has fined American multinational technology company Google a record-breaking EUR 4.34 billion for breaching antitrust rules. 

The verdict ended a 39-month investigation by the European regulators into Google’s Android operating system.

Statement issued by the European Commission reads that “since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search”.

Google must now bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days, or face penalty payments of up to five percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

The EC found that the US tech giant had required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install the Google search and browser apps, as a condition for licensing Google’s application store, Play Store. The company was also found to have denied consumers choice, by making payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices.

The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google “has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine”.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager

These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules”, said Vestager.

Google has already announced that it would appeal the European Commission’s decision.