Google to appeal Europe's $5 billion fine

EU google antitrust

The European Commission said it was fining the US tech giant for "three types of restrictions that (it) has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine".

Google said it would appeal the fine.

The Commission could have fined Google as much as 10% of the annual global sales of Alphabet, its parent company, which topped $110 billion in 2017.

Google's Android system, which Google lets device makers use for free, runs about 80 percent of the world's smartphones, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

Pichai denied the European Commission charge that Google has restricted competition and forced smartphone manufacturers to install Google search and browser apps on the Android operating system developed by Google.

"The Commission's Android decision ignores the new breadth of choice and clear evidence about how people use their phones today", the Google CEO also wrote in a blog post the same day.

"Dominance is not a problem under European Union antitrust rules", Margrethe Vestager said.

The EU enforcer dismissed Google's argument of competition from Apple, saying the iPhone maker was not a sufficient constraint because of its higher prices and switching costs for users.

Vestager is expected to announce that Google abused its dominant position in the market by making tie-ups with phone makers like South Korea's Samsung and China's Huawei.

The Commission says it is the "special responsibility" of bigger companies like Google to ensure other smaller players are able to compete fairly "on merit".

"They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere", she added.

"We will appeal the Commission's decision". Regulators came out with a preliminary ruling in April 2016 in which they said Google had market shares exceeding 90 percent in most European countries in the realm of licensable mobile operating systems, and abused that share by forcing manufacturers to take its apps and by preventing them from selling altered versions of Android, which is technically open-source software.

2013 - Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint about Google's Android business practices to the European Commission.

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