Although the expectation is that the rulings will be somewhat harsh, relatively speaking, it may turn out that the slew of European Union cases brought against Google will ultimately be ineffective. That's according to new reports, which cite officials close to the European Commission. For those who aren't already familiar with the cases, the search giant has faced growing opposition from the commission and the commission's head of Antitrust cases, in particular, over its Android licensing agreements. The company's current agreements allegedly prevent third-party manufacturers from promoting any alternatives to Google's core apps in order to be registered and certified Android handsets. In fact, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has even recently revealed a desire to split Google from Android as completely as possible as a response to those terms.
However, that isn't likely to happen at all. Moreover, the expected results from current cases leveled against the company, while generally comprehensive, aren't necessarily going to change much. That mostly comes back to the amount of influence the company has and a near complete lack of viable direct competition for its services. Beyond that, the company's financial standing is such that most resulting fines and fees are rendered moot fairly quickly. The upcoming rulings are predicted to center around fines in excess of $1 billion and the removal of the clauses that center around app and service promotion on third-party devices. However, fines of that nature are typically only a small percentage of a single operating year's income for companies as large as Google. Meanwhile, while the licensing agreements are typically in place to help provide a consistent experience with Android OS across the board, there aren't really many alternatives for third-party OEMs to choose from. The services offered by Google are not only much more popular, in terms of search, navigation, and other categories. They are also staples in the industry in terms of innovation, functionality, and usability.
Looking past smaller OEMs, even larger manufacturer's appear reluctant to fully separate from Google when it comes to the company's mobile OS. Samsung could arguably step away relatively easily, with consideration for its financial standings and popularity as a handset maker. However, that has not always shown to be a good move for companies. Amazon, for example, has stepped clear of Google's services with its Kindle tablet line and later with a smartphone following the same principles. While the Android AOSP-based tablets sell well enough, the Amazon Fire smartphone was, by comparison, a total flop. It goes without saying that doesn't mean that Google and Android won't ever be split. However, at this juncture, it may be impossible without tossing a substantial amount of disarray into the market - as opposed to increasing competition. In fact, it seems as likely to result in no change at all, for now.