Google appeals EU's $5 billion fine over Android antitrust practices

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 11, 2018

Google on Tuesday filed an appeal against the €4.34 billion fine it faces for allegedly breaking European Union antitrust rules, the company confirmed to CNET, ZDNet's sister site.

According to the New York Post, the Department of Justice is also looking into starting an investigation into Google's abuse of its Android monopoly in U.S., meaning the company may soon be fighting regulators on two fronts.

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine", Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement in July.

Google provides Android free to smartphone manufacturers and generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with search results.

European regulators said Google engaged in practices that prevented its rivals from competing and innovating.

"They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere".

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 (the Play Store). And it paid manufacturers to make Google Search the default search engine on their devices.

In its July decision, Brussels accused Google of using the Android system's huge popularity on smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine and shut out rivals. Google's CEO Sundar Pichai immediately responded that Android has "created more choice for everyone, not less", and promised to appeal.

US President Donald Trump also slammed the European Union for fining Google, tweeting that the incident proved that the bloc has "taken advantage of the US, but not for long!"

"We have now filed our appeal of the EC's Android decision at the General Court of the EU", Google said in a statement.

A story on Sky News suggests that Google has simply asked ad agencies to set up fake companies to sell goods, and advertise in the spaces previously occupied exclusively by Google, thus giving an impression of competition.

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