Google has been hit with a €4,34 billion (£3.8 bn) fine by the European Union for breaking antitrust laws, topping their previous record fine of €2.42 billion given just over a year ago.
The fine comes after claims Google have abused its market dominance with Android products with illegalities concerning three key areas:
- Forcefully bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the Android operating system.
- Allegedly blocking phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and
- Made payments to certain manufacturers and mobile networks to exclusively bundle the Google Search app on devices.
The EU regulators now want Google to bring what it has deemed to be illegal conduct to an end within 90 days of the decision. If they don’t, Google could be subject to additional charges which could value up to 5% of Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) daily revenue worldwide.
What does this mean for Google?
They will need to stop imposing on manufacturers that they need to have Chrome and Google Search pre-installed on devices in order to have the Google Play store. In addition to preventing phone makers from using forked versions of Android, as the commission says Google “did not provide any credible evidence” that forks would be affected by technical failures.
The investigation involving Android began after a complaint was raised back in 2013 by the group FairSearch, which included rival organisations Microsoft, Oracle and Nokia and has been increasingly observed by the European Commission over the last year following further complaints that Google was abusing their market dominance in smartphone operating systems.
Google is set to appeal the decision claiming that “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less.” Which is more than likely to see the legal process stretch over many years.