Google hit with record €4B fine

Google hit with record €4B fine

Google hit with record €4B fine

Europe's antitrust enforcer hit Google with another massive fine on Wednesday, this time a €4.34 billion ($5.04 billion) levy over the licensing practices for its Android mobile operating system, almost double one issued previous year for favoring its own comparison shopping site in search results.

Apart from paying the fine, the commission has directed Google to permit phone makers and network operators to install apps from other search companies on Android devices. In simpler terms, it means manipulating Google's program into thinking that a word like "idiot" should throw up results related to Donald Trump.

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Recall that in June 2017, the European Commission fined Google for 2.42 billion euros for violation of antitrust laws.

It is likely to stoke tensions between Europe and the USA, which regulates the tech industry with a lighter hand and has complained that the European Union is singling out American companies for punishment.

Google is set to face a record-busting European Union antitrust fine this week over its Android mobile operating system but rivals hoping that an order to halt unfair business practices will help them may be disappointed. "This ranges from increased fragmentation and greater app inconsistency to increases in hardware cost should Google decide to change or adapt the Android business model", Geoff Blaber said.

It represents over two weeks of revenue for Google parent Alphabet Inc. and would scarcely dent its cash reserves of $102.9 billion.

Google immediately said it will appeal the ruling, arguing that its free operating system has led to lower-price phones and created competition with its chief rival, Apple.

As a consumer, I'd like all phone makers, whether their gadgets run Android, the iOS, Samsung's Tizen, Linux or something even more exotic, to offer me a choice of apps.

The EU wants to ensure that phone makers are free to pre-install apps of their choosing and allow for competition in services such as internet searches. These have enabled Google to use Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.

It has also taken on Facebook over privacy issues after it admitted that millions of users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Trump's 2016 election campaign. "Our position is not altruistic, and we are not defending open source", wrote Bruce Gustafson, President & CEO of the Developers Alliance in a recent blog post.

He is also considering tariffs on European cars and parts that the USA imports.

GSMA, the global wireless carriers' trade body, welcomed the ruling, saying services developed by its members can now better compete with software vendors.

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