Google Is Fined A Record $5 Billion In EU Antitrust Case

Google Is Fined A Record $5 Billion In EU Antitrust Case

"No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules - they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks", Pichai writes.

Google's inability to roll out updates to all Android smartphone users at once is one of the biggest problems of the platform, leading to fragmentation across the market.

The reason for the fine was that, in the opinion of the European Commission, Google has used Android to unfairly strengthen its dominance in online search among competitors.

The ruling could open the way for smartphone makers to offer more choice, with devices running different versions of Android, or offering alternative browsers or search engines out of the box. It has been in talks with manufacturers from Huawei to Samsung about that. Facebook will also be looking for changing its business model under pressure. Handset manufacturers could choose them despite unbundling.

It could stoke tensions between Europe and the US, which regulates the tech industry with a lighter hand.

"No matter what the political context. if you breach Europe's antitrust rules and we find out, there will be a penalty, there is no surprise", she told reporters on Wednesday.

Google aims to file an appeal against the €4.34 billion ($5.06 billion) fine imposed by the European Commission. "They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!" Still, some USA politicians welcomed it.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT tweeted that the fine should "be a wake-up call" to the Federal Trade Commission and "should lead U.S. enforcers to protect consumers". Blumenthal previously called on regulators to investigate how Google tracks users of Android phones.

Because it has a market share of over 80 percent in many countries, these actions essentially locked competitors out of the search market, giving Google an nearly monopoly.

According to the Commission, Google has imposed since 2011 illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general Internet search.

Neither fine will cripple the company. Trying to regulate giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Intel, which have all received antitrust fines from the European Union in the last 10 years, requires a lot of resources.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is due to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House next Wednesday in an effort to avert Trump's threatened new tariffs on cars made in the European Union as the president looks to reduce the US trade deficit. The openly accessible Android source code covers basic features of a smart mobile operating system but not Google's proprietary Android apps and services. The installation of other apps will give room for competition from other firms and also minimize the advertising revenues gained by Google annually.

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