Google fined RECORD €4.3bn by European Union after market dominance investigation

Mobile Device Applications for Android

The EU Commission has fined Google for illegal restrictions on Android smartphone makers and mobile network operators, which helped the company's search engine cement its dominant position further.

The decision comes just over a year after the Commission slapped a landmark €2.4 billion penalty on Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, for favouring its shopping service over those of competitors. This limits consumer choice and "makes it more hard for rivals to present more things to us as consumers", European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager told the NewsHour. She said that European Union antitrust laws put a "special responsibility" on dominant businesses, meaning they can not deny other companies the chance "to compete with them on merit".

Google also gave "financial incentives" to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they pre-installed Google Search on their devices, it said.

Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, took issue with three specific trade practices, which it found to be illegal.

But the European Union claims that these practices have hurt more than the market for mobile Internet searches, and have also affected the browser market as well, where the Chrome app gained an obvious and hard to beat advantage by being bundled in with all Android devices.

In particular, Google has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store). Regulators have also alleged that Google sought to prevent manufacturers from using alternatives to its Android operating system.

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The company has 90 days to stop its illegal practices or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover, according to the release. "Finally, Google obstructed the development of Android forks, which could have provided a platform also for other app developers to thrive".

"A healthy, thriving Android ecosystem is in everyone's interest, and we've shown we're willing to make changes", he added. There are more than two billion Android devices - including phones, tablets, and watches - being used around the world every month.

The Android decision is the most important of a trio of antitrust cases against Google.

Google has said it will appeal the commission's decision, saying: "Android has created more choice for everyone, not less". "Google obtains the vast majority of its revenues via its flagship product, the Google search engine", Wednesday's statement said.

Brussels has repeatedly targeted Google over the past decade amid concerns about the Silicon Valley giant's dominance of Internet search across Europe, where it commands about 90 percent of the market. However, that's should not necessarily be up to Google, and even so, the main issue is that Google also requires OEMs to install other Google apps alongside the Play Store.

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