Here's Why Google Has to Pay a $5 Billion Android Antitrust Fine

Mobile Device Applications for Android

Google has been fined an unprecedented 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion/£3.8 billion) by the European Union's competition watchdog over three stated breaches.

Google has been abusing its Android market dominance by bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system and requiring manufacturers to pre-install the apps as a condition for licencing the Play Store, the statement read.

The Commission said Google also made payments to some large manufacturers and mobile network operators on the condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices. She continued to say Google has been "denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits". "This reduced the ability of rivals to compete effectively with Google", the Commission concluded.

Smartphone makers are allegedly discouraged from releasing devices that are based on the Android open source code but not affiliated with the Google-owned property.

Last year, the EC issued a €2.42 billion (~$2.82 billion) fine to Google for "abus [ing] its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to. its comparison shopping service".

Google has said it will appeal against the fine.


The EU says that Google has imposed these illegal restrictions on Android device makers and mobile network operators since 2011, and it has done so to illegally "cement its dominant position in general Internet search". The ecosystem carries all the properties needed for a fair competition - "rapid innovation and lower prices". Still, for cash-rich Google, the financial penalty-while significant-is potentially less onerous than business changes Brussels has ordered in how Google structures deals between itself and manufacturers. Google parent Alphabet and the commission both declined to comment on the Android fines. Regulators came out with a preliminary ruling in April 2016 in which they said Google had market shares exceeding 90 percent in most European countries in the realm of licensable mobile operating systems.

The penalty has come just over a year after the Brussels watchdog handed down a €2.4bn fine to Google for favouring its shopping service over rivals in a ruling that the Silicon Valley firm is now appealing.

It also argues that it allows other apps to be pre-installed alongside Google apps, and that agreements not to support altered versions of Android enable it to provide a baseline experience on tens of thousands of different devices. The EU has the right to fine Google up to 10 percent of its annual revenue, which was $110 billion in 2017.

Google prevented Android phone makers from selling devices that run "forked" versions of the operating system. It said that "at a minimum", Google has to stop and to not re-engage in any of the three types of practices.

Since then, Google has been fighting the case and it's now stuck in court.

Its Play Store accounts for more than 90% of apps downloaded on Android devices in Europe. "We intend to appeal", Pichai said in a blog post.

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