Trump Defends Google, Blasts EU Over Android Antitrust Fine

Google EU European Union AH Illustration July 2018

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended Google from accusations of monopolistic behavior, having labeled the European Union’s $5.05 billion fine issued to the company yesterday as the political bloc’s attempt to take advantage of the United States. The comment ties into President Trump’s recent clashes with the EU that saw him call Brussels a “foe” in trade. In a tweet published shortly after midnight PST, the head of the state called Google “one of our great companies” and said the EU won’t continue to take advantage of the U.S. for much longer, without elaborating on the matter.

The European Commission is said to have originally planned to make a ruling on the matter last week but postponed its publication due to President Trump’s visit to the Old Continent so as to avoid direct clashes with the White House. Yesterday, the European competition authorities found Google guilty on three counts of abusing the dominant position of the Android operating system with the goal of promoting its own apps and services while simultaneously and purposefully hurting rivaling solutions. Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said Android isn’t a monopoly and creates competition instead of pulverizing it, confirming the company will appeal the historic ruling that led to the largest antitrust fine in the history of the EU.

President Trump’s stance on immigration and other policies saw him harshly criticized by a number of Google officials last year but the tensions between the two declined in the meantime. The EU’s decision will also be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission, though it’s unlikely that the firm will face another antitrust investigation over the same issue in its home country due to the fundamental differences between the two legal frameworks regulating competition. While President Trump’s comments imply he doesn’t consider Google to be a monopoly, he often raised similar accusations against Amazon in the past. The EU gave Google 90 days to stop forcing and incentivizing OEMs to pre-install its apps on their Android devices and avoid giving the same treatment to their rivals. The company is otherwise risking additional fines amounting to up to five percentage points of its daily global turnover for every extra 24 hours of non-compliance.