Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai hit back at the European Union's decision to hit the company with a historic $5 billion fine over its Android app promotion practices, having argued the world's most popular operating system doesn't have a monopoly in the mobile industry and hence cannot be abused in an anti-competitive manner. In a lengthy article published on the firm's official website earlier today, Mr. Pichai reiterated some of his previous arguments against allegations that Google is promoting its Android apps in an unfair manner by requiring original equipment manufacturers to pre-install them on devices, having said that the ecosystem helped diversify the market and provide consumers with more choice.
Today, 1,300 brands are selling 24,000 Android devices spanning everything from smartphones and tablets to TVs, set-top boxes, and wearables, with that hardware having access to over a million apps via the Google Play Store, the 46-year-old said, pointing to that diversity as proof that the platform is beneficial to consumers and conducive to healthy competition. The European Commission found Google not only required OEMs to pre-install many of its apps on their devices but even incentivized some of them to not pre-load rivaling solutions, thus hurting competitors in an unfair manner.
Google argues its case isn't comparable to that led against Microsoft in the '90s when the company was under pressure due to its practice of pre-installing Internet Explorer on Windows machines and requiring its partners to do the same while ignoring competing solutions. More than two decades later, downloading an alternative app is extremely quick and easy to do, especially compared to the dial-up era, Google's head concluded. The Mountain View, California-based Internet juggernaut already confirmed its intentions to appeal the EU's decision, signaling that a decade-long court battle comparable to the one Intel started with Brussels in 2009 is on the horizon. Google is also arguing that having some of its apps pre-installed on third-party Android devices helps it recoup "billions of dollars" invested in the OS over the last ten years, so long as consumers choose to use its solutions.