FTC To Look Into Google's Android Antitrust Fine From EU

The United States Federal Trade Commission will look into the historic $5 billion fine Google received from the European Union on Wednesday due to a number of illegal restrictions it imposed on manufacturers licensing a version of the Android operating system equipped with the Play Store. New FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said the regulator is "very interested" into the decision that resulted in the largest competition fine in the history of the Old Continent, having confirmed he already had a preliminary discussion on the matter with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager earlier this week.

While speaking at yesterday's House subcommittee hearing, Mr. Simons was quick to point out that the U.S. and the EU approach the subject of antitrust law from different standpoints and hence often don't reach the same conclusions on individual cases. The FTC will still be carefully probing the EU-issued decision, presumably so as to determine whether the practices it condemns warrant a stateside investigation as well. The political bloc concluded Google broke its competition law by forcing and incentivizing original equipment manufacturers to pre-install its apps if they want to ship Android devices with the Play Store, in addition to abusing the dominant position of its mobile OS to prevent rivaling apps from being pre-loaded on smartphones, tablets, and other hardware that runs it.

The violations were sanctioned with a $5.05 billion fine, as well as an order mandating Google ceases its illegal activities within 90 days. Alphabet's subsidiary argues Android isn't a monopoly and installing apps that rival its own is easy, whereas skeptics are criticizing the EU's ruling as coming too late, years after Google already established the dominance of its apps with monopolistic behavior. The Mountain View, California-based company confirmed it will appeal the decision, much like it's presently pushing against a comparable ruling related to its efforts to promote its online shopping service which resulted in a $2.7 billion fine issued by the EU last year.

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