Google hit with record $5 billion Android antitrust fine from EU

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Google has been issued with a record fine of more than four billion euro by the European Commission competition authorities for abusing its market position through the Android mobile operating system.

The fine, which was to be announced about midday on Wednesday, ends an European Union probe into Google's contracts with smartphone manufacturers and telecommunications network operators. She has alleged that mobile operators and device manufacturers were given financial incentives if they installed Google search and no other rival services.

The penalty is almost double the previous record of 2.4 billion euros which the US tech company was ordered to pay a year ago over its online shopping search service. Previously Ms Vestager accused Google of anti-competitive behavior and demanded that Android should not force OEMs to set Google as their default search engine and pre-install Chrome to have access to Google Play.

Google has argued that its practices have not reduced consumer choice.

Wednesday's ruling came a year after the EU's enforcer handed down a $2.7bn fine on Google for favouring its shopping service over rivals.

It represents just over two weeks of revenue for Google parent Alphabet Inc. and would scarcely dent its cash reserves of $102.9 billion. Google said it would appeal the decision. (Google has appealed the amount of that fine.) The much higher figure reflects the fact that search has a much bigger impact than shopping on Google's bottom line.

It is the largest fine imposed by the European Union regulator against a single firm, after a three-year investigation into Google following a complaint by Fairsearch in 2015.

The antitrust chief is also expected to order Google to make major changes to Android, which is used on around 80 percent of phones in Europe. Rivals couldn't compete with these payments, making it hard for any other search engine to get their app pre-installed.

"Android means manufacturers don't have to buy or build expensive mobile operating systems".

"The EU must ensure complete compliance from a recalcitrant Google and the USA must take action to provide American consumers with similar protections", added Mr Lowe.

John Simpson, the director of Consumer Watchdog, said: "The US Federal Trade Commission or Department of Justice should also act to end Google's monopolistic abuses, instead of letting the Europeans be the only cop on the antitrust beat". The open-source software is provided to manufacturers for free, while Google derives revenue from advertising displayed in its apps. Google is in a processing of appealing this fine but maybe slugged with another before the first is even resolved. "This reduced the ability of rivals to compete effectively with Google", the Commission concluded. Today, more than 24,000 devices from over 1,300 brands run on Android.

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