Google faces €4.34 billion fine over Android browser and search engine ties

U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington U.S

Tech Giant, Google, was fined $5 billion by the European Commission on Wednesday for breaking antitrust laws by pushing its apps on smartphone users and subsequently shutting its competitors out of the market.

The European Commission found that Google has abused its dominant market position in three ways: tying access to the Play store to installation of Google Search and Google Chrome; paying phone makers and network operators to exclusively install Google Search, and preventing manufacturers from making devices running forks of Android.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that the EU's record $US5 billion fine of Google was a sign the bloc had "taken advantage of the U.S".

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"Today the commission has chose to fine Google €4.34 billion ($5 billion) for breaching European Union antitrust rules", Vestager told a press conference in Brussels. "We intend to appeal", Sundar Pichai, the company's CEO, said in a statement.

Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, says Europe has been much more aggressive in its oversight of tech giants than the U.S. It has asked Apple and Amazon to hand over what it says are unpaid taxes.

The commission further describes the gravity of the antitrust breach as follows: The Company compelled phone makers to ensure the pre-installation of Google Search as well as Chrome browser on all phones operating on Android, it also accepted to remunerate the manufacturers and network operators only if they made the Google Search the exclusive search app. Its parent company, Alphabet, made $9.4 billion in profit in the first three months of the year and reportedly had over $100 billion in cash reserves. The two sides have been locked in a circle of tit-for-tat retaliation since Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and the European Union retaliated with duties on a basket of goods. "They truly have taken advantage of the USA, but not for long!"

Windsor said that because many of Google's contracts with smartphone makers are global, the ruling could force it to change its strategy elsewhere including Africa.

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Android is an open-source operating system that Google lets cellphone makers use for free. As a result, it is the most widely used system, beating Apple's iOS by a wide margin. These have enabled Google to use Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.

He is also considering tariffs on European cars and parts that the US imports. "Whether or not you like the result, this is law enforcement in Europe and we wouldn't like anyone interfering with law enforcement in the USA", said Gene Kimmelman, a Justice Department veteran now with advocacy group Public Knowledge.

It has said it plans to appeal.

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