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The European Union is not here for what they believe is Google’s unfair practices. Wednesday (July 18) the E.U. slapped the tech giant with €4.34 billion fine ($5.1 billion) for “forcing” it’s apps on Android smartphone users. This latest fine is far larger than the €2.4 billion ($2.8 billion) fine the E.U. hit Google with back in 2017.

European officials came down hard on Google because it feels Google broke antitrust laws by striking deals with smartphone makers HTC, Samsung and Huawei. European authorities state the agreement that required those brands to exclusively feature Google’s search bar and Chrome web browser doesn’t give competitors like Firefox a fair chance to compete.

Europe’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager said:

“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules.”

In a press release, the E.U. states:

“The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.”

“Google must now bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.”

Google, as expected, responded swiftly says it will appeal the decision which could result in a court battle that could drag on for years. Rivals such as Microsoft, Nokia, TripAdvisor, Naspers, and Oracle formed an organization called Fair Search to lobby against Google and complained about Google’s dominance of internet search and mobile market. Microsoft later left the group after striking a licensing deal with Google.

As for the repercussions of the E.U.’s actions taken against Google, this could spark a movement globally and might force other countries to take a tougher look at Silicon Valley former antitrust investigator for the Federal Trade Commission Jonathan Kanter adds. We shall how this all plays out and if this will affect Google’s future practices in the long run.

Photo: NurPhoto / Getty

 

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