Android might not stay free thanks to massive fine

Google slapped with huge fine for illegal business tricks

After all, Google previous year made $5 billion every 16 days so it can do it again.

An official tweet from the European Commission account said, "We are fining Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google's search engine".

During the investigation, device manufacturers told the Commission that the Google Play Store is a "must-have" app, which consumers expect to have pre-installed, especially since they can not lawfully install it themselves.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said the case focused on three types of restrictions that Google imposed on Android device manufacturers and operators. She said that European Union antitrust laws put a "special responsibility" on dominant businesses, meaning they can not deny other companies the chance "to compete with them on merit".

The EU's competition office, which has earned a reputation under Ms Vestager for tackling American technology giants, also has an ongoing investigation into Google's advertising business AdSense. "Android has created more choice for everyone, not less".

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT tweeted that the fine should "be a wake-up call" to the Federal Trade Commission and "should lead United States enforcers to protect consumers". It's the largest fine ever imposed on Google by the EU. (Google has appealed the amount of that fine.) The much higher figure reflects the fact that search has a much bigger impact than shopping on Google's bottom line.

Today, about 80% of smart mobile devices in Europe, and worldwide, run on Android.

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Vestager also accused Google of making illegal payments to manufacturers to ensure that its apps are pre-loaded.

Google requiring manufacturers to pre-install its browser and search apps in order to access Google's app store, Google Play.

"The complaint dragged on for five years because Google used every trick in its book to delay action", said Thomas Vinje, counsel to FairSearch. In that case, Google called tying its services to Android "necessary" to help it monetize its Android investment, since the operating system is open source and free.

Google Search is also the most widely used search engine in the world, performing roughly 95% of all searches despite the efforts of competing services such as Bing and DuckDuckGo. "A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition".

Google (googl) also broke the rules by stopping manufacturers who preinstall Google's Android apps from selling phones using a non-Google version of Android.

As of the decision, Google has 90 days to change its anti-competitive practices before it faces further legal action. Only about 1 percent of users download search apps, she said, and only 10 percent download browsers that are not pre-installed onto a phone.

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