In short: European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager used Google as an example of clear antitrust behavior while speaking at a Wednesday gathering in Paris, France. "Google’s contracts with phone makers and operators that used its Android operating system discouraged rivals from producing innovative search apps and operating systems," the top EU official said at the Terra Nova 10th Anniversary Debate earlier today. Enforcing rules that regulate fair competition is of paramount importance if the European Union's economy is to continue thriving moving forward, the 50-year-old Danish politician concluded.
Background: Ms. Vestager has been one of the most vocal and aggressive critics of the tech industry's anti-competitive practices in recent years and her agency handed two historic antitrust fines to Google since the summer of 2017. While Alphabet's subsidiary is currently appealing both rulings that allege it abused the dominant position of Android and Search in order to promote its other solutions and simultaneously hurt its rivals, The Competition Commissioner dismissed its defenses and criticized its unwillingness to settle in a timely manner. The two fines amount to the equivalent of over $6 billion, which is still a minor sum in the context of the conglomerate's latest earnings report that revealed it generated more than $32 billion with $2.8 billion in profit in the second quarter of this year alone.
Impact: Coupled with the recent arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation, Google is currently facing significant pressure in Europe and will likely be revamping its business strategy for the Old Continent in the near future. The two antitrust fines it's presently appealing are likely to be followed by a third one in the coming months as the European Commission is still investigating its potential abuse of its online advertising platform, by far the largest such solution in the world. The issues come at an inopportune time as Google is already under massive scrutiny in its home country where it's defending against allegations of Search bias from conservatives and is also being put on the spot for not doing enough to combat foreign election interference efforts that abuse its platforms.