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Google hit with $5.1b fine in EU’s Android antitrust case

19 July, 2018, 18:35 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • REUTERS  Dado Ruvic

After getting slapped by European Union with a record fine of $5 billion for abusing the dominance of the Android operating system, Google has released an official statement hinting a future where Android might not be free.

It it fails to overturn it, the company will have 90 days to change its practices or risk facing an even larger fine. "Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe". In Google's case, the fine amount would barely put a dent in its coffers, seeing how its parent company, Alphabet Inc., generates the same amount every fortnight.

Explaining the fine, European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said yesterday: "Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine".

What the memo hints at, basically, is that Google might have to start charging companies for Android licences, should the European Commision's (EC) demands are granted.


Prevented Android phone makers from selling devices that run "forked" versions of the operating system.

"These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits", Vestager said.

The president appeared to be using the antitrust fine as a salvo in his escalating trade war with the EU.

In a post proclaiming that Android has created more choice, not less, Google CEO Sundar Pichai pointed out that Hey, 11 years ago, Google chose to give away Android. This means now Google should stop forcing the manufacturers to preinstall Google search and Google Chrome if they want to offer the Google Play Store on handsets. "But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms".

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