Google has been fined a record breaking €4.34 billion (~$5BN) by European antitrust regulators for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.
Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has tweeted to confirm the penalty ahead of a press conference about to take place. Stay tuned for more details as we get them.
In a longer statement about the decision, Vestager said:
Today, mobile internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic. It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans. Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. In this way, 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. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.
In particular, the EC has decided that Google:
- has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store);
- made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and
- has 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”).
The decision also concludes that Google is dominant in the markets for general internet search services; licensable smart mobile operating systems; and app stores for the Android mobile operating system.