It was in late April when the European Union (EU) first slapped Internet giant Google with an Android antitrust claim after deeming that the company used its Android operating system to squeeze out rivals. Now, EU antitrust regulators are planning to order Google to stop its program where it pays smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony and other manufacturers which use Android to run their smartphones, to pre-install Google Search and the Google Play Store on their devices.
According to an EU document, the regulators have also warned Google that it might receive a large fine for paying financial incentives to smartphone manufacturers. The EU document was sent to complainants last week for feedback and contains more than 150 pages. This is the same copy which Google received back in April from the European Commission, when it was officially charged for using Android to stay ahead of its rivals. One of the complainants is a group called FairSearch, the one which first prompted the Commission to investigate Google back in 2013. FairSearch compromises of companies which want to ensure that they are not put at a disadvantage due to search engine market dominance, which is something Google dominates.
The Commission also wants Google stop forcing smartphone manufacturers to pre-install its proprietary apps such as Google+, Gmail and others. However, this only applies if it restricts smartphone manufacturers from making use of competing operating systems which are based on Android. As for the fine Google will be given, it will probably be a huge sum, considering that the alleged anti-competitive practice Google is involved in, is still ongoing from 2011. According to Reuters, the fine could be based on the revenue which the company generates from AdWords clicks by European users, Play Store purchases, AdMob’s in-app advertisements and also Google Search product queries. On top of that fine, Google could also be fined for abusing its power with Google Search to dominate results for shopping within its Search website rankings. It was first reported back in May of this year that Google may face a fine of up to €3 billion for favoring its own shopping services over rivals.