Googlehas been fined €4.3BN after being accused by European Union of using Android (Mobile Operating System) to ‘illegally cement it’s dominance’ .
The firm’s parent Alphabet has been given 90 days to change its business practices or face further penalties of up to 5% of its average global daily turnover.
Google has said it plans to appeal. However, it could easily afford the fine if required – its cash reserves totalled nearly $103bn at the end of March. At a press conference in Brussels, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said consumers needed choice.
And she suggested the ruling could lead manufacturers to sell smart devices using different versions of the Android operating system to Google’s, such as Amazon’s Fire OS, which she said they had been prevented from doing.
“This will change the market place,” she said. Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai has blogged in response.
“Rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition and Android has enabled all of them,” he wrote.
“Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less.”
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The case Against Google
Ms Vestager alleges that there are three ways that Google has acted illegally:
- it required Android handset and tablet manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and its own web browser Chrome as a condition for allowing them to offer access to its Play app store
- it made payments to large manufacturers and mobile network operators that agreed to exclusively pre-install the Google Search app on their devices
- it prevented manufacturers from selling any smart devices powered by alternative “forked” versions of Android by threatening to refuse them permission to pre-install its apps
Ms Vestager acknowledged that Google’s version of Android does not prevent device owners downloading alternative web browsers or using other search engines.
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Margarethe Vestager : A good regulator or A Busybody
Depending on your point of view you can either applaud Ms Vestager for standing up to this Arrogant multi million companies or just a busybody looking for extra relevance. This case is not the first case she has against Google and from all likelihood won’t be the last.
Ms Vestager previously fined Google €2.4bn ($2.8bn; £2.1bn) over a separate probe into its shopping comparison service – a ruling the tech firm is in the process of appealing against. She is not done with Google, a third investigation underway into Google’s advert-placing business AdSense.
Other Times Google and Others got Fine
Google have been fine and drag to international courts over suits bordering on one illegal act to another. They are sometimes caught exploiting loop holes in the rule book. Google are not the only culprits, The E U have fine many big companies. Here are some earlier cases:
- fines totalling €3.8bn against several truck-makers accused of price collusion, which were imposed in July 2016 and September 2017
- the €2.24bn fine against Google for promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of its search results, which was announced in June 2017
- two fines totalling €1.46bn against Microsoft related to the bundling of its Explorer browser with Windows, and failing to keep a pledge to provide users with a choice of other browsers. The two penalties were announced in February 2008 and March 2013
- a €1.35bn collective fine against several car glass producers, which had been accused of illegally sharing commercially sensitive information. This was made in November 2008
- a €1.06bn fine against Intel, which was accused of offering discounts to computer-makers that avoided rivals’ computer chips. It was announced in May 2009
- a €997m fine against Qualcomm, which was penalised over claims it had paid Apple to use its chips. This was announced in January 2018