Google could face a hefty fine by the European Union over the ongoing anti-trust investigation into Android. According to a Financial Times report, European Union’s (EU) Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will announce the verdict in the coming weeks, and the search giant could face a major fine over its Android operating system and how it is packaged on smartphones. The report estimates the fine could be as high as $11, which is 10 per cent of Alphabet’s turnover.
According to the report, EU’s Competition Commission will likely come with a negative decision against Google and its parent Alphabet. EU has over three investigations into Google over anti-trust, anti-competitive practices. With this decision, Google’s Android operating system is under the scanner, and there’s the charge of whether Google abused its market dominance in smartphones.
The charge against Google is that it promoted its own apps like Google Search, Chrome browser on Android phones, and thus limited access to the competition. It is also examining whether Google blocked forked versions of Android for device maker. In 2017, Google was fined $2.7 billion by the European Commission for breaching antitrust laws and promoting its own results, products in shopping search.
In November 2016, Google’s general counsel Kent Walker had written a detailed blog rejecting EU’s charges in the Android case and the shopping case. He said that the Commission’s charge that Android and iOS do not compete was not true, and that Google did not force device manufacturers the company’s apps on their phone.
“No manufacturer is obliged to preload any Google apps on an Android phone. But we do offer manufacturers a suite of apps so that when you buy a new phone you can access a familiar set of basic services,” he wrote. He alleged that Apple’s iPhone also does the same thing, and in fact offers “much less choice in the apps.”
This will not be the first time EU could fine a major technology company over anti-trust practices. One major player that faced this was Microsoft over bundling of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer browser with Windows PCs. Microsoft was fined a total of $1.35 billion or nearly 899 million Euros in 2008 by the European Union’s anti-trust commission.