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.