Google Could Be Hit With A Large Fine In Android Antitrust Case

According to Reuters’ sources, the European Commission (EC), which is the executive body of the European Union (EU), will soon issue a multi-billion dollar fine against Google. The EC took issue with how Google uses its dominant control over Android to force manufacturers into licensing Google’s apps.

Google’s Monopoly In The EU

According to market research firm IDC, Google’s Android operating system had a worldwide market share of 85% at the beginning of 2017. This seems to put Android in a monopoly position, which means Google could also be investigated over antitrust issues, at least according to the EC.

The EC has already fined Google 2.4 billion euro ($2.8 billion) over Google’s violation of antitrust laws in relation to Google Shopping, a product comparison service. At the time, the EC said that Google was demoting competitors’ websites and ranking its own products higher in the search results. Google also had to spin-off its product comparison service as a result of the investigation.

EC Investigates Android Abuses

In 2016, when the EC listed its antitrust accusations against Google, it noted that Google violated antitrust laws by:

  • requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google search and the Chrome browser
  • preventing manufacturers from selling smartphones that run on competing Android-based operating systems
  • paying device makers and wireless carriers to exclusively pre-install Google’s search services on devices

According to Reuters’ sources, the EC recently found new evidence against the company, which asked for a closed-door hearing to make its case, but the EC rejected that offer. The EC intends to announce the multi-billion dollar fine over these antitrust violations in mid-July.

The EC has been investigating Google in a third antitrust case, which involves abuses in regards to its AdSense ad network.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • jaber2
    Do no harm is out the window
  • passivecool
    I don't care what they preinstall, really. What irks me is all the stuff you can't get rid of (by normal means): play books, play movies, play games, play music, youtube ... :-p
    Then all the samsung cr*p. I think 2/3 of all the apps on my note is stuff i don't want.

    I would be very pleased if this suit forces change to this industry ... is it a "policy", or a "disease"?
  • jacksmith21006
    Google made it so people that could not afford an iPhone can have a great smartphone by giving Android away for free.

    Google just needs to start charging for Android and problem solved. Then credit back when include the Google Services.
  • SockPuppet
    I think it's disgusting that the EU keeps milking US technology giants for quick paydays. Google should tell the EU to go piss up a rope. I double dog dare you to try to block Google from Europe.
  • thejanitor
    Sounds familiar. Remember when Microsoft was sued for packaging Internet Explorer exclusively with Windows? I guess Google thought they were above being sued for the same thing...
  • alextheblue
    Yeah I'm not a huge fan of Google's business model (and internal practices) but this is just the EU making a cashgrab like they did with MS.

    I do agree with Passive though, they make it hard to uninstall a lot of Google/OEM crapware. With Windows handsets I could uninstall almost everything that was preloaded (aside from essential software that you need for the phone to function), without rooting. That's one thing that really needs to change.