Google's Android Fine To 'Free' The Market: EU Antitrust Chief

The historic $5 billion fine Google received from the European Union earlier today over its Android practices will "free up the market" and allow original equipment manufacturers to use a wider variety of implementations of the world's most popular operating system, according to EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. In a Wednesday interview with CNBC, the Danish politician said Google has to immediately stop its efforts aimed at both forcing and incentivizing OEMs to pre-install its apps on their Android devices at a direct expense of rivaling solutions, reiterating the contents of her department's decision published earlier today.

Ms. Vestager said Google imposed "illegal restrictions" on Android OEMs with the goal of improving the commercial performance of its mobile app portfolio within by far the world's largest smartphone ecosystem on the planet. The 50-year-old also dismissed Google's argument that Android isn't a monopoly due to the existence of Apple's iPhones, having concluded the European Commission's decision on the matter is aimed at protecting European consumers and solely stems from the fact Google acted in an illegal manner for years. Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai harshly criticized the decision earlier today and confirmed the company will appeal the ruling, though the process of doing so is likely to take years.

Alphabet's subsidiary was already hit with a $2.7 billion fine over antitrust violations related to the manner in which it promoted its online shopping service via Search in 2017 and also appealed that decision. The company is still awaiting the outcome of the EU's third competition investigation into its business practices focused on AdSense, the world's largest advertising platform. The EU is looking into similar restrictions Google placed into AdSense terms of service in order to discourage and outright prevent clients from using the solution in conjunction with competing platforms. Should the firm be found guilty in that case as well, its total antitrust fines issued by the EU are likely to surpass $10 billion, though that figure would still only represent some ten-percent of its annual revenue.

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