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EU slams Google with 4.3 bn euros fine for breaching anti-trust rules

Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search, the European Commission in a statement.

According to the Commission, Google has engaged in three separate types of illegal practices, all of which had an aim of cementing Google’s dominant position in general internet search.

Firstly, Google illegally tied the Google Search app and the Google Chrome browser to device manufacturers as a bundle.

Secondly, Google granted “significant financial incentives” to some of the largest device manufacturers as well as mobile network operators on condition that they “exclusively pre-installed” Google Search across their entire portfolio of Android devices.

This harmed competition by significantly reducing their incentives to pre-install competing search apps, according to the Commission.

Thirdly, the EU executive arm claimed “Google has prevented device manufacturers from using any alternative version of Android that was not approved by Google”.

Google has 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. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere, which is illegal under EU antitrust rules, said European Union Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at a media conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

The Commission now wants Google to bring “the illegal conduct” effectively to an end within 90 days, otherwise it will face penalty payments of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

In June 2017, the Commission fined Google 2.42 billion euros for abusing its dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to Google’s own comparison shopping service.

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