Google has been hit with a record fine of €4.34bn (around £3.9bn) by The European Commission, who found the search engine giant guilty of using the mobile operating system to illegally “cement its dominant position” in search.
However, Alphabet – the firm’s parent company – has since announced that it plans to appeal the fine.
At a recent press conference in Brussels, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager made it clear that consumers needed a greater amount of choice, whilst also suggesting that the ruling could result in manufacturers selling smart devices using different versions of Android to Google, which Vestager stated that they have been previously prevented from doing.
So, what did Google do wrong?
Well, according to Margrethe Vestager, Google were found guilty on three fronts:
- it required Android handset and tablet manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and its own web browser Chrome as a condition for allowing them to offer access to its Play app store
- it made payments to large manufacturers and mobile network operators that agreed to exclusively pre-install the Google Search app on their devices
- it prevented manufacturers from selling any smart devices powered by alternative “forked” versions of Android by threatening to refuse them permission to pre-install its apps
Time will tell whether Alphabet’s appeal is successful but, based on the evidence heard so far, it is unlikely.
However, if anyone can afford a fine then it’s Google, as they’re cash reserves totalled nearly $103bn at the end of March 2018.