Android Monopoly Case: Google May Be Fined Up to Euros 2 Billion

Doris Richards
July 19, 2018

The issue that the Commission is looking at is that Google is forcing phone manufacturers using their Android operating system to install Google Search as a default search engine and Google Chrome as a default browser, and by doing that it is hindering competition in an unfair way. To further clarify, this means that the commission can fine Alphabet almost £8.4 billion.

The European Commission gave the internet search firm 90 days to stop the practice or face a penalty of up to five per cent of the average daily turnover of the firm's parent company, Alphabet.

European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager will brief Google CEO Sundar Pichai by telephone later on Tuesday on her ruling on the company's Android mobile operating system, a person familiar with the matter said.

This past March, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said she harboured "grave concerns" over Google's Internet dominance, and the regulatory body she leads was exploring breaking Google into smaller entities to protect competition.

Although it is not expected to use the full extent of its powers, the fine is likely to be higher than the $2.7 billion Google was ordered to pay in June a year ago over claims it stuffed search results with its own shopping adverts, squeezing out price comparison services.

Google also prevented manufacturers from selling smartphones that run on rival operating systems based on the Android open source code, it said. Furthermore, the company also says that they need to do this in order to keep the Android Platform free for manufacturers. Or phone makers. Or developers.

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The piece quotes Richard Windsor, an analyst at research company Radio Free Mobile.

The European Commission, the 28-nation EU's executive arm, refused to comment.

Google's own Play Store, which is used to distribute television shows, movies, applications, and ebooks, accounts for more than 90 per cent of all software downloaded on Android devices in Europe.

Vestager's other major scalps include Amazon and Apple.

The EU's biggest ever punishment targeted Apple in 2016 when it ordered the maker of iPhones and iPads to pay Ireland 13 billion euros ($16 billion) in back taxes that it had avoided by a tax deal with Dublin.

Transatlantic tensions are also high after Trump berated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over defence spending at a summit last week, over his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and over the United States president's pull-out from the Iran nuclear agreement and Paris climate deal.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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