Google readies itself for 'record fine' in Android antitrust case

Google readies itself for 'record fine' in Android antitrust case

The Telegraph reports that the European Union is expected to hand down a massive fine to Google Tuesday or Wednesday this week to punish the company for abusing its Android monopoly to strengthen its search empire, benefitting the company to the tune of more than $20 billion.

Two European sources told AFP the fine would be "several billion euros" without giving further details.

Her ruling comes just over a year after she slapped a landmark 2.4-billion-euro ($2.80 billion) penalty on Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, for promoting its shopping service over those of competitors.

Regulators say Google has tilted the field in its favour by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search together with its Play Store and Chrome browser, sign agreements not to sell devices on rival Android systems and also pay smartphone makers to only pre-install Google Search on devices.

The decision, which follows a three-year investigation, comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount due to President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.

In a statement at the time of the verdict, commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: 'Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives.

Google readies itself for 'record fine' in Android antitrust case
Google readies itself for 'record fine' in Android antitrust case

Although it is not expected to use the full extent of its powers, the fine is likely to be higher than the $2.7 billion Google was ordered to pay in June past year over claims it stuffed search results with its own shopping adverts, squeezing out price comparison services. "This free distribution is an efficient solution for everyone - it lowers prices for phone makers and consumers, while still letting us sustain our substantial investment in Android and Play".

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.

The piece quotes Richard Windsor, an analyst at research company Radio Free Mobile. "On Android, Google's apps typically account for less than one-third of the preloaded apps on the device".

It has also taken on Facebook over privacy issues after it admitted that millions of users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Transatlantic tensions are also high over Trump's berating North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on defense spending at a summit last week, over his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and over the United States president's pull-out from the Iran nuclear agreement and Paris climate deal.


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