Google facing record €4.3bn EU fine over Android OS

David Murphy

Google is to be hit with a record €4.3bn (£3.8bn) fine over its Android Operating System, the BBC is reporting. If correct, the fine would be just under half the maximum £8.5bn fine it could have faced, equating to 10 per cent of its annual revenue.

The case dates back to April 2016, when the European Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Google on the Android operating system and applications. This informed the company of its preliminary view that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.

Specifically, the Commission accused Google of requiring Android device makers to set Google as the default search engine on the device, and to pre-install the Chrome browser, before allowing them to offer access to its Play app store. It also accused the tech giant of preventing manufacturers from selling mobile devices powered by rival operating systems based on Android's open source code. And thirdly, of giving device makers and mobile operators financial incentives to provide Google’s search service as the sole pre-installed option.

Google responded to the allegations in a blog post in November 2016, pointing to the dangers of fragmentation and arguing that the Commission’s proposal risked making fragmentation worse, hurting the Android platform and mobile phone competition. It also argued that any ruling against the company would mean less innovation, less choice, less competition, and higher prices.