Google Ordered To Pay $5 Billion Anti-Trust Fine By European Union

Google Ordered To Pay $5 Billion Anti-Trust Fine By European Union

European Union antitrust regulators hit Google with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine on Wednesday for using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals.

Margrethe Vestager, European commissioner for competition, said: 'Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.

Google said it would appeal the fine.

"The fine of €4.34 billion for Google is for illegal restrictions on the use of Android".

Google has said it will appeal against the fine.

Alphabet generated about the same amount of money as the record penalty every 16 days in 2017, based on the company's reported annual revenue of $110.9 billion for the year. Google will account for a third of all global mobile ads in 2018, according to research firm eMarketer, giving the company around $40 billion in sales outside the U.S. Google risks losing that traction if it is forced to surrender its real estate on millions of Android phones. Google long has issued device makers like Huawei, LG and Samsung an ultimatum: They must set Google's search engine as the default on Android smartphones and tablets and pre-install Google's Chrome web browser, or they risk losing access Google's app store, called Google Play.

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"Android hasn't hurt competition, it's expanded it", Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, wrote in a 2016 blog post rebutting the EU's initial charges. She said Google breached antitrust rules by requiring device manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Chrome. Regulators have also alleged that Google sought to prevent manufacturers from using alternatives to its Android operating system.

Business review site Yelp has complained about Google's anti-competitive business models, and its polic head, Luther Lowe, described Ms Vestager's decision as an "important step in restoring competition, innovation and consumer welfare in the digital economy".

The Google decision comes just one week before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is due to travel to the United States for crucial talks with Trump on the tariffs dispute and other issues.

Today's ruling, which was originally expected earlier this month but was postponed to avoid a clash with President Trump's visit to Europe, will bring an end to the EC's investigation into Google's Android OS. That keeps smartphone prices low, it says.

Vestager also accused Google of making illegal payments to manufacturers to ensure that its apps are pre-loaded. The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission's own market survey confirmed.

The revelation follows an European Union investigation into Google's Android licensing requirements and its contracts with carriers.

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