European Union fines Google $5 billion

Ivan Schwartz
July 19, 2018

Google was previously penalized by the European Commission just previous year, when the search giant was slapped with a $2.7 billion fine for lowering the ranking of competitor shopping comparison tools to promote its own. "They truly have taken advantage of the USA, but not for long!", he wrote on the social network.

The US president took to Twitter to lash out at the European Union, which handed the penalty to the search giant over its Android operating system.

According to Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's competition chief, Google used Android's dominant market position to strengthen its lead in search, a practice that has been deemed illegal in the EU.

Google employs around 7,000 people in Ireland, making it, along with Apple, one of the biggest private sector employers in the State.

It was argued that Google requiring Android phone manufacturers to pre-install its Chrome browser and Search app had allowed it to gain an unfair advantage over potential rivals.

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In its ruling, the European Union said Google broke the rules by requiring cellphone makers to take a bundle of Google apps if they wanted any at all.

Prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks"). "They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere".

Google is also accused of forcing smartphone makers like Samsung and Huawei to preinstall its own services, such as Google Search and Google Maps, on Android.

The president appeared to be using the antitrust fine as a salvo in his escalating trade war with the EU.

"But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favour of proprietary systems over open platforms". We'll see where things go from here, so stay tuned.

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