EU Fines Google a Record $5 Billion

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Europe has hit Google with a record $5 billion fine.

The EU claims these practices have helped Google gain a dominant position in the mobile search market by making it near impossible for mobile search competitors to gain any foothold on Android devices.

Business review site Yelp has complained about Google's anti-competitive business models, and its polic head, Luther Lowe, described Ms Vestager's decision as an "important step in restoring competition, innovation and consumer welfare in the digital economy".

Google also gave "financial incentives" to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they pre-installed Google Search on their devices, the commission said. Denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits.

The steep penalties from Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's competition chief, marks the second time in as many years that the region has found that Google wields its power in a way that harms competition and consumers.

"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less", the company stated.

And it turns out, Google tops the list of the largest amount of antitrust fines received by any tech company. In June 2017, it fined Google $2.7 billion for abusing the way it prioritizes its own shopping results in search, bringing the total sum accrued in fines by the company within the European Union to $7.2 billion over the course of just 13 months. The Android case decision comes after a three-year investigation into Google's mobile operating system.

Google faces $5 billion fine over Android - report
Google faces record US$5 billion fine from EU over Android

The executive body says that about 80 percent of smart devices in Europe run on Android. "The decision does not prevent Google from putting in place a reasonable, fair and objective system to ensure the correct functioning of Android devices using Google proprietary apps and services, without however affecting device manufacturers' freedom to produce devices based on Android forks".

It said that Google paid some large smartphone makers and network operators to install apps on phones before they were sold. "We intend to appeal", Pichai said.

European officials have been investigating Android since 2015 after FairSearch filed a complaint against Google in 2013.

Paying manufacturers to exclusively pre-install Google's search app was the second breach, while the third was stopping manufacturers from running alternative versions of Android. Vestager acknowledged that nothing was preventing users from moving to providers, however research showed just 10 percent of users installed a different browser and just 1 percent downloaded a competing search app.

Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement its dominance as a search engine. The conditions Google puts as part of the Android license agreement with phone makers is what the regulator considers illegal.

Google must now bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days or face additional penalty.

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