EU Fines Google $5 billion Over Android Antitrust Violations

Fine is second multi billion levy by EU against Google in less than a year.
The penalty follows a major investigation over Android dominance of how Google links its Google Search and Chrome operations on Android devices.

Technically speaking, the European Union have issued a $5.06 billion fine against Alphabet, Google’s parent company for the alleged abusive dominance of the Android operating system for mobile devices, claiming that Google have deliberately used it to block rivals and boost its own profits.

The European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager issued the fine for three “illegal restrictions” on how Android is used. “It has cemented the dominance of its search engine,” Vestager tweeted. She continued to say Google has been “denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits…With market dominance comes responsibility,” she explained.

Google has found itself under the microscope by the EU and has been hit with a multi billion dollar fine.

But how? Isn’t Android an ‘open source’ operating system?

Yes, and no.

Essentially, the EU claim that Google places restrictions on how its Android operating system can be used. While large parts of Android can be tinkered with and altered, there are some parts of it that Google dictates must be kept. For instance, all Android based phones must have Google as the default search engine, and Google Chrome as the default web browser.

The EU investigation has concluded that Google requires all phone manufacturers who use Android have to pre-install the above items if they want their end-users to have access to the Play-Store.

As well as this the EU also stated that Google had been making large payments to large Phone manufactures, such as Samsung, to ensure that Google’s apps received priority on their devices.

“Google offers its mobile apps and services to device manufacturers as a bundle, which includes the Google Play Store, the Google Search app and the Google Chrome browser,” the EU Commissioner of investigation said in a statement. Basically, Google made it pretty much impossible phone manufacturers to not install the Play Store without the Google Search app.

Surely if people wanted to, they can just download another app from the Play Store and use that instead?
Yes, they could, but one of the EU’s main points is that people tend not to, especially if they have one installed by default. Just as a point of comparison, The EU have previously found that 95% of all Android search queries were made through Google.

“The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps,” said the EU. The verdict concludes a 39-month investigation by the European commission’s competition authorities into Google’s Android operating system.

For its part, Google have denied any wrong doing, stating that users were free to delete their apps and gave them high levels of control over their mobile devices.

Google have announced that they will appeal the decision.

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