Alphabet Inc’s Google will be fined a record 4.3 billion euros (£3.84 billion) by the European Union over its Android system, if it doesn’t end ‘illegal conduct’ within 90 days
The EU antitrust enforcer has charged Google with using its dominant Android to marginalise rivals following a three-year-long investigation – seen as the most important of three EU cases against the world’s most popular internet search engine.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager held a press conference today, where she announced the record fine against Google.
Ms Vestager said: “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.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Google Europe said: “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less.
“A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition.
“We will appeal the Commission’s decision.”
The EU enforcer dismissed Google’s argument of competition from Apple, saying the iPhone maker was not a sufficient constraint because of its higher prices and switching costs for users.
Android, which runs about 80 per cent of the world’s smartphones according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, is the most important case out of a trio of antitrust cases against Google.
Some major Android device makers, including Samsung Electronics Co, Sony Corp, Lenovo Group Ltd and TCL Corp, declined to comment on the EU case.
If Google doesn’t end this illegal conduct within 90 days and is forced to pay the fine, this will bring the running total of Google fines up to 6.7 billion euros, after last year’s penalty over results in its shopping-search services.