On July 18, 2018, the European Commission fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. According to the Commission, Google engaged in three separate practices aiming to cement its dominant position in general internet search services:

  • Google required manufacturers to pre-install Google Search app and Google Chrome (web browser) as a condition for licensing the Google Play Store (app store);
  • Google made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on the condition that they exclusively pre-install the Google Search app on their devices; and
  • Google prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling any mobile devices running alternative versions of Android not approved by Google (known as “Android forks”).

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of the competition policy, stated:

According to the Commission, Google used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine and these practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits.  According to the Commission, they have also denied consumers the benefit of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.  This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.

Google is required to end these practices and bring its conduct in line with EU rules within ninety days of the decision.  Failing to do so would result in a further penalty payments of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.  The fine is the largest ever imposed by the European Commission and demonstrates the EU’s commitment to maintaining a fair competitive landscape that promotes innovation in the ever-growing mobile sphere.

The press release from the European Commission can be found here.

Summary By: Hashim Ghazi

E-TIPS® ISSUE

18 07 25