Google has been fined $5.1b by the European Commission, in a landmark antitrust case that accuses the company of illegal behavior to help maintain its position in internet search. The company has 90 days to stop the practices.
The EC found three problematic areas. Forcing the installation of Chrome and Google Search apps, paying to ensure no competing apps were installed, and blocking attempts to use competing Android-based mobile operating systems.
European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager tweeted:
“Fine of €4.34b to Google for 3 types of illegal restrictions on the use of Android. In this way it has cemented the dominance of its search engine. Denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits. It’s illegal under EU antitrust rules. Google now has to stop it.”
It’s Google that must make the changes, and the EC does not provide solutions; but if it does not comply in 90 days it risks a daily fine of 5% of parent company Alphabet’s daily turnover. Google CEO Sundar Pichai disagrees with the decision.
Pichai writes in a lengthy blog post:
“Rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition and Android has enabled all of them. Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less.”
Google will appeal the decision.