European regulators on Wednesday fined Google a record $5 billion and ordered changes that could affect which Google-owned apps appear on smartphones and tablets running its Android mobile operating system.
The steep penalties from Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition chief, marks the second time in as many years that the region has found that Google wields its power in a way that harms competition and consumers. In this case, Vestager faulted Google for using Android as a means to solidify its strong foothold in search and advertising, while making it harder for rivals to offer competing apps and services.
Google Fined $5.1 Billion by E.U. in Android Antitrust Ruling
Google was hit with a $5.1 billion fine by European antitrust officials on Wednesday for abusing its power in the smartphone market, in the region’s latest move to rein in the clout of American tech companies.
The penalty of 4.34 billion euros was a record, and far larger than the €2.4 billion, or about $2.8 billion, that the European Union levied on Google last year for unfairly favoring its own services in internet search results. The decision on Wednesday highlighted how European authorities are aggressively pushing for stronger regulation of the digital economy on issues including antitrust, privacy, taxes, and the spread of misinformation and hate speech.
EU's Vestager to brief Google CEO ahead of record Android fine
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager will brief Google CEO Sundar Pichai by telephone later on Tuesday on her ruling on the company’s Android mobile operating system, a person familiar with the matter said.
The phone call is in line with EU regulatory procedures whereby companies are informed of an imminent antitrust decision.
Google Fined Record $5 Billion by EU, Given 90 Days to Stop ‘Illegal Practices’
Google received a record 4.3 billion-euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine from the European Union and was ordered to change the way it puts search and web-browser apps onto Android mobile devices.
The penalty — the same amount the Netherlands contributes to the EU budget every year — is far higher than any other dished out by the U.S., Chinese or other antitrust authorities. More significantly, Google was given until mid-October to stop what the EU called “illegal practices” on contracts with handset manufacturers that push its services in front of users. It faces daily fines of 5 percent of revenue if it doesn’t obey.