AntitrustCommission fines Google for illegal Android operations

The European Commission today fined Google €4.34 billion for violating EU competition law.

Specifically, Google is charged with illegal restrictions on device manufacturers and mobile network operators related to its mobile operating system 'Android'. Thereby, Google is said to have abused its power in the market for mobile operating systems to increase further dominance in general internet search, particularly with its web browser 'Chrome'.

These are the key points:

  • Manufacturers of Androif devices were required to pre-install both the Google Search app and the browser app 'Chrome' as a condition for licensing Google's app store ('Play Store').

  • Google transferred illegal payments to large device manufacturers and mobile network operators conditional on the exclusive pre-installment of the Google Search app on their devices.

  • Manufacturers that sought to pre-install Google apps, but used alternative Android versions, which Google did not approve of, so-called 'Android forks', were kept from selling even a single smart mobile device.

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organization BEUC, commented on this: “In competitive mobile markets, consumers should be able to make a meaningful choice between search engines and browsers and which apps they can download on their phones and tablets. Google misuses its market power to push its own products. This is a clear restriction of competition which hurts European consumers. (…) That Android is helpful for app developers, or that many consumers enjoy its stack of attractive services, does not justify an abuse of market power. In a healthy mobile market, consumers should be able to benefit from Google’s services but also those developed by competing companies.”

Source: European Commission & BEUC

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