Google has been hit by a massive antitrust fine of US$5 billion (~RM20.3 billion) by the European Union (EU).It is reportedly one of the largest fines that Google has ever received in its history for its handling of the Android OS.
The fine was issued over what the EU describes as “illegal practices” over how the internet giant implements its search and web browser apps on the devices of Android smartphone makers. Specifically, its says that Google requires smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search and Chrome on their device in order to gain access to other Google apps. Adding to that, Google also specifically banned these smartphone makers from using rival versions of Android on their devices.
Google also reportedly forces smartphone makers to integrate its own apps to their phones, should they wish to offer the Google Play Store on them. They also have to make Google Search the phone’s default search engine.
The EU has given Google 90 days to makes changes to its practice, failing which the search engine giant will be slapped with daily fines of 5% of its annual revenue. In Google’s case, the fine amount would barely put a dent in its coffers, seeing how its parent company, Alphabet Inc., generates the same amount every fortnight.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc., called the fine a “competition decision against Android” and that the EU’s decision ignores the fact that Android phones are in competition with Apple’s iPhones. Pichai further argued that the EU’s orders to unbundle its apps and services would have a negative impact on the Android ecosystem and its consumers, and could lead to it having licensing fees.