Google slapped with record €4.34 billion fine for breaching European Union antitrust rules

Google slapped with record €4.34 billion fine for breaching European Union antitrust rules

Google slapped with record €4.34 billion fine for breaching European Union antitrust rules

This week, another fine of $5.1 billion was doled out because Google was found to be abusing its power in the smartphone market.

Google faces a $5 billion fine after the European Union on Wednesday sided with Android over a case involving apps for mobile devices, setting a global record for antitrust penalties.

Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition, said that Google had used Android "as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine". These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. It's not illegal to dominate a market, the European Commission says - but companies aren't supposed to "abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition".

"Today's decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less".

The EU's decision to impose the record fine on the US-firm comes at a time of heightened tensions between Brussels and Washington.

And it turns out, Google tops the list of the largest amount of antitrust fines received by any tech company.

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European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has previously fined Google €2.4bn in a separate investigation into the firm's shopping comparison service, when the bloc ordered Google to stop abusing its search engine to favour its own product-advertising service other others.

Google has said it will appeal against the fine. It said that about 80% of smartphones in Europe and worldwide run on the system.

Vestager also accused Google of making illegal payments to manufacturers to ensure that its apps are pre-loaded.

"The complaint dragged on for five years because Google used every trick in its book to delay action", said Thomas Vinje, counsel to FairSearch.

As well as the Android and Google Shopping files, it also has a third investigation under way, into Google's AdSense advert-placing business. The ecosystem carries all the properties needed for a fair competition - "rapid innovation and lower prices". The Commission is said to have been investigating contractual stipulations regarding the pre-installation of Google apps and services on non-Google phones, as well as allegedly incentivizing the exclusive use of its products (find out more about that in our previous coverage). "This harmed competition by significantly reducing their incentives to pre-install competing search apps", the EC said, but noted this practice ended in 2014. The courts have also demanded that Google stops denying forked versions Android access to its Play Store due to lack of evidence that proves these iterations would be "affected by technical failures or fail to support apps", as per Google's own reasoning for the prevention. They've stated that Android has given customers more freedom, not less. Android phone users can easily install other applications, even if they're not pre-installed by manufacturers, he noted.

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