Google has been fined a record £3.9bn over Android by the EU. This is the largest penalty ever given by the commission in history. They ruled that Google’s contracts with handset makers breached the EU’s competition law. The fine was over “illegal behaviour” by Google to secure the dominance of its search engine on mobile devices. This would then prevent rivals from competing. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been given a 90-day time slot to change its practices. If not, they will receive future fines of up to 5% of its global turnover. They said they have plans to appeal the fine. This isn’t the first big fine Google has received. Just last year, they received a record-breaking fine of £2.14bn. The fine was for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in the creation of its online shopping service.
The record fine was given to Google by the EU after realising they required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps on devices which uses its Android operating system which is 4 out of 5 of all mobile phones. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner has said; “the fine of £3.9bn to Google has been given for 3 types of illegal restrictions on the use of Android. In this way it has cemented the dominance of its search engine, denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits.”
The three ways which Google has acted illegally are:
- Required the pre-installation of the Google search app and Chrome, it’s own web browser for them to offer access to its Play app store.
- Prevented manufacturers from selling devices powered by alternative “forked” versions of Android by threatening to refuse them permission to pre-install its apps.
- Paid manufacturers who agreed to pre-install the Google Search app on their devices.
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