Google has been slammed with a €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine by EU regulators for breaking antitrust laws. The European Commission revealed that Google has abused its Android market dominance in three key areas. This is a pretty huge fine for the tech giants – a record-breaking fine, different from the $2.7 billion fine from the EU last year over manipulated search results.
Google has been bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system. Google has also blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and it “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators” to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets.
The European Commission now wants Google to bring its “illegal conduct to an end in an effective manner within 90 days of the decision.” That means Google will need to stop forcing manufacturers to preinstall Chrome and Google search in order to offer the Google Play Store on handsets. Google will also need to stop preventing phone makers from using forked versions of Android, as the commission says Google “did not provide any credible evidence that Android forks would be affected by technical failures or fail to support apps.” Google’s illegal payments for app bundling ceased in 2014 after the EU started to look into the issue. Let’s see if Google would be able to pull up a successful appeal.
Meanwhile, Google has said now said it will appeal the fine. Google spokesperson in a statement to The Verge said, “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation, and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition… We will appeal the Commission’s decision.” Google is also warning that the EU’s decision may affect the free business model of Android in the future.