Google faces $5 billion fine over Android

- The European Union's antitrust chief has fined Google a record $5 billion for abusing the market dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system.

Google also gave "financial incentives" to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they pre-installed Google Search on their devices, the commission said.

The case against Android is the most significant of three grievances launched by the European Union against the search giant, which was already hit with a record-breaking 2.4-billion-euro fine a year ago for favoring its own shopping service in online search results. Previously Ms Vestager accused Google of anti-competitive behavior and demanded that Android should not force OEMs to set Google as their default search engine and pre-install Chrome to have access to Google Play.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai purportedly received a call from EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager last night about the forthcoming fine.

The EU hit Google with the globally record-breaking fine after investigating its practices regarding app and service bundling on the Android platform.

The latest fine is almost double the previous one of 2.4 billion euros, which was also against Google in 2017 in the online shopping comparison case.

A spokeswoman for Google did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Google, predictably, says it will appeal, and given the speed at which justice works in Europe, this case will continue to be dragged out for several years. "Google can not have its cake and eat it", said Vestager.

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Google has already been targeted over similar violations in Russian Federation, where it was forced to make it easier for consumers to use rival search engines.

The company was ordered by the European Commission on Wednesday to pay €4.34 billion ($5 billion) for unfairly pushing its apps on smartphone users and thwarting competitors.

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.

"The EU must ensure complete compliance from a recalcitrant Google and the U.S. must take action to provide American consumers with similar protections", added Mr Lowe.

Android phones come preloaded with Google apps and services, including Search.

Google requires hardware makers to pre-install the Google Search app and Chrome web browser as a condition for licensing Google's mobile app store, the Google Play Store.

And the decision cites Google's efforts to prevent any alternative versions of the Android system from being developed and deployed. 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.

Google is now appealing against that decision.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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