The EU (European Union) said Wednesday it had slapped a record $5.04 billion antitrust fine on Google. This fine is for illegally using its Android operating system to strengthen the dominance of its search engine.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the US tech giant illegally used Android’s near-monopoly to boost usage of its own search engine and browser.
Vestager told a press conference in Brussels that, “Today the commission has decided to fine Google 4.34 billion euros (USD 5 billion) for breaching EU antitrust rules”.
“Google has engaged in illegal practices to cement its dominant market position in the internet search.” Vestager, who has taken on a string of Silicon Valley titans as EU antitrust chief, said Google “must put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.
Google immediately said it would appeal the fine “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” Google spokesman Al Verney said in a statement
“A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation, and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. We will appeal the Commission’s decision.” Danish former minister Vestager spoke by telephone with Google chief Sundar Pichai last night to tell him about the decision in advance.
Another European source said, “The fine is based on the length of the infraction, but also on whether antitrust authorities believe there was an intention to commit the offense, and whether they excluded competitors or not”.
They were also made to set Google Search as the default, as a condition of licensing some Google apps. Google Search and Chrome are as a result pre-installed on the “significant majority” of devices sold in the EU, the European Commission says.
Brussels has repeatedly targeted Google over the past decade amid concerns about the Silicon Valley giant’s dominance of internet search across Europe, where it commands about 90 percent of the market.