The European Commission on Wednesday officially confirmed hitting Google with the largest antitrust fine in its history amounting to €4.34 billion, or $5.04 billion. The sanction was issued following a lengthy investigation into the company's Android practices, with the European Union's competition watchdog concluding Google exhibited monopolistic behavior by forcing and incentivizing original equipment manufacturers to pre-install its comprehensive app suite on their Android devices and avoid giving rivaling solutions the same treatment, thus hurting third parties and breaking the political bloc's competition law.
Besides the fine itself that's almost double the amount of the second-largest antitrust sanction in the EU's history and was also imposed on Google just over a year ago, the EC ordered the company to cease its anti-competitive activities related to Android within the next 90 days or be hit with more fines amounting to up to five percentage points of its daily global revenue for every extra 24 hours of being in violation of the directive. The Mountain View, California-based technology giant said it will appeal the ruling, much like it's currently appealing the 2017 fine issued due to the manner in which it promoted its shopping price comparison service via Google Search. Google's stock remains largely unchanged in premarket trading, though it's likely to decline by the end of the day.
The appellate process itself is expected to take years, much like Intel is still fighting against a $1.45 billion antitrust penalty the EU imposed on it in 2009. Google is presently also in the process of pushing back against last year's fine over its price comparison tool. The Alphabet-owned firm remains adamant Android users have plenty of choice in regards to the apps they use, whereas it previously also suggested that a number of its services such as the Play Store are an integral part of the core Android experience, at least outside of China where its mobile apps and other digital offerings are blocked. The EC found Google engaged in three types of illegal behavior related to Android, including paying OEMs to pre-install its flagship app at the expense of rivaling solutions, hence ensuring its dominance in the mobile search segment at a time when Internet searches started transitioning from desktops to smartphones and tablets, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said earlier today.