Google fined record €4.3 bn for breaching EU antitrust rules



The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules by imposing illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators, since 2011, to cement its dominant position as the leading internet search engine.

The tech giant must now bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to five per cent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

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; made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Today, mobile internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic. It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans.

“Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine.

“In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits.

“They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”