Google hit with record-breaking $5 billion fine in Android antitrust case

Google hit with record-breaking $5 billion fine in Android antitrust case

Google hit with record-breaking $5 billion fine in Android antitrust case

Google has been handed a colossal €4.34 billion (£3.8bn) fine by the European Commission for placing restrictions on how its Android operating system can be used.

The Commission says that Google abused its position by forcing manufacturers to bundle Google Search and Chrome apps into Android.

More significant than a blockbuster fine could be an accompanying order freeing up phone manufacturers to choose non-Google apps to install on Android phones.

European Union officials have been investigating Google contracts that require manufacturers of Android smartphones to take the USA company's search and browser apps, and other services when they want to license the Play app store.

"These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits", she continued. The Android case decision comes after a three-year investigation into Google's mobile operating system. "Today's decision and fine are a logical outcome, as this is a clear anticompetitive behavior to me". Google has said it will appeal the EC decision.

Google faces $5 billion fine over Android - report

"The Commission decision concerns three specific types of contractual restrictions that Google has imposed on device manufacturers and mobile network operators". More significantly, Google was given 90 days to stop what the European Union said were "illegal practices" on contracts with handset manufacturers that push Google services in front of users. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovations and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition.

Google forcefully objects to the ruling, calling it a a rejection of Android's entire business model. "In accordance with the Commission's 2006 Guidelines on fines (see press release and MEMO), the fine has been calculated on the basis of the value of Google's revenue from search advertising services on Android devices in the EEA". But Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals'. Instead, smartphone makers can exclusively pre-install their own web browsers and search apps, without needing to include Google's Chrome or Search apps. Google is in a processing of appealing this fine but maybe slugged with another before the first is even resolved.

Lawmakers will need to ensure users can download from competing app stores and that smartphone makers are free to choose pre-installed apps.

Google blocked manufacturers from selling devices running alternative versions of Android, known as Android forks, not approved by the company.

Google will have 90 days change its illegal practices, but it seems unlikely that the tech giant will comply so soon, so don't hold your breath. This ruling will aim make Android a true open source piece of software and may loosen the company's grip on much of our data. "The Commission would have to determine such non-compliance in a separate decision, with any payment backdated to when the non-compliance started", it said.

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