European regulators have slapped Google with a record-breaking fine of $5 billion for breaking antitrust laws regarding the Android operating system.
The committee, lead by Margrethe Vestager, accused Google of abusing its dominance in the smartphone OS market, who propels manufacturers into delivering pre-installed Google Search and Chrome Browser on new handsets
This is not the first time Google has been slapped with an enormous fine raging in billions. Back in 2016, Google was fined 2.7 billion dollars for manipulating search results, offering the top position to its own shopping comparison website. Presently, the $5 billion fine would make Google top the list of “largest amount of fine received”
The European regulators have scrutinized Google for paying hefty amounts to smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators for having Google search as their default search app. Officials even blamed Google for laying out harsh guidelines for OEM which restricts from developing Android forks based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project)
“Google is entitled to set technical requirements to ensure that functionality and apps within its own ecosystem run smoothly, but these technical requirements cannot serve as a smokescreen to prevent the development of competing for Android ecosystems,” said EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
The regulators are also aiming to control how Google conducts its business. According to CNBC, the company saw a 0.3% drop in its shares immediately after the news broke out.
European officials have been investigating Android since 2015 after FairSearch filed a complaint against Google in 2013. Many technology giants backed the complaint including Microsoft who then called Google a “monopoly” in the Android market.
EU lawmakers have asked Google to enforce new guidelines in 90 days. Failing to comply with the decision would make Google liable for a fine of 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
The new regulations would undoubtedly force Google to revamp its strategy of delivering personalized search results since its whole paradigm is based on Google search and the entire app ecosystem.