A little more than a week after the European Commission (EC), the executive arm of the European Union (EU), fined Google $2.73 billion for search engine-related antitrust violations, sources have said the tech company could face an even bigger fine for using its Android mobile operating system to gain a competitive advantage over rivals.
Citing “two people familiar with the matter,” Reuters yesterday reported that Google faces a potential fine bigger than the one issued last month for alleged anti-competitive practices since 2011. In April 2016, the EC sent Google a Statement of Objections, which set in motion a formal investigation into the company’s use of Android to limit competing browsers, operating systems, and search engines.
According to the Reuters report, European antitrust authorities have asked an expert panel to review the commission’s findings against Google and offer a second opinion on last year’s Statement of Objections.
EU: Google ‘Abused Its Dominant Position’
“The EU’s charge sheet issued to Google in April last year said the anti-competitive practices started from January 2011 and the Commission is likely to tell the company to stop them,” Reuters reported. “They are still ongoing, telecoms industry sources said.”
In launching its investigation last year, the EC said that Google had “abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.”
Google has done so by pre-installing Google Search and setting it as the default search service on most Android devices sold in Europe, according to the commission. That strategy appears to “close off ways for rival search engines to access the market, via competing mobile browsers and operating systems,” the commission said. Google’s actions “also seem to harm consumers by stifling competition and restricting innovation in the wider mobile space,” according to the EC.
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