EU To Issue Historic $5B Fine To Google Over Android Apps: Report

The European Union will hit Google with a historic $5 billion fine over antitrust violations related to its Android operating system, Bloomberg reports, citing a source close to the political bloc. The €4.3 billion fine is expected to be officially issued at 1 PM CET, whereas Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai is reportedly already informed of the matter, having been briefed by the European Commission on Tuesday. The sanction will be almost twice the size of the antitrust fine the EU imposed on Google last year due to monopolistic behavior associated with its shopping comparison service, which itself dwarfed Intel's 2009 fine for comparable behavior which amounted to $1.45 billion and was the largest such penalty the political bloc ever resorted to until it turned its attention to Google.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is expected to appeal the decision, with the process itself being likely to take years to be completed. The EU is said to have concluded Google broke its competition laws by insisting original equipment manufacturers pre-install a wide variety of its apps on their Android devices, thus hurting rivaling solutions in an unfair manner. The Alphabet-owned company previously argued its mobile apps are a core part of the Android experience, with the case itself being reminiscent of the manner in which Microsoft defended its practice of having Internet Explorer as the default Windows browser in the '90s.

Google is presently also being investigated by EU antitrust authorities over its advertising platform AdSense, i.e. its terms of service that prevent firms from using it in conjunction with competing solutions. The company's total antitrust fines on the Old Continent may hence surpass $10 billion, though it remains to be seen how its appeals develop. For added context, Intel still hasn't paid its 2009 fine and has successfully returned it to a lower court in late summer of 2017.

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