Google has been hit by yet another European anti-trust investigation, this time coming from Russia. The Russian Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) issued a fine amounting to about 438 million Rubles (about RM27 million) to the internet giant; citing problems with its Android operating system.
The fine was issued for Google practice of forcing all manufacturers to install its own apps on all phones running on Android. An act that is considered to be an anti-competitive measure. Russia is not the only country that is concerned with the problem, as the EU has also opened investigations into the matter.
The fine may be more symbolic rather that punitive, as the amount is miniscule compared to Google’s earnings. The folks at Recode note that 438 million Rubles translates into about $6 million; which the company earns in an hour.
Despite the small fine, Google has reason to be concerned. Other anti-trust authorities will be watching the outcome of the episode, and may perhaps be encouraged to follow suit in attempting to limit the reach and power of the company.
Europe is particularly concerned with what it deems to be anti-competitive matters. Microsoft experienced the same issue with its Internet Explorer browser that comes standard with every installation of Windows. It turned out that bundling the software amounts to an anti-competitive act; which is why copies of Windows sold in the EU are required to ask users for their choice of web browser.