Google Antitrust Story Unfolds: Search Giant Appeals, President Trump Rushes to the Rescue
Recently we wrote about the record fines looming over Google due to its violation of the EU’s antitrust laws. Earlier this week, the European Commission has made its decision and actually fined the search giant for €4.34 billion (about $5 billion).
While some think that this move by the European regulator isn’t a substantial spike in Google’s wheels on its way to global dominance, the president of the US sees this fine as an anti-American move, and has hinted at a retaliation.
The EU Fines Google For $5B Over Antitrust Laws Violation
According to the official press-release by the European Commission, Google is guilty of abusing its dominance over the market of Android-powered devices in three particular ways:
- The company was building-in its own search engine and Chrome browser app into Android.
- The company didn’t allow device manufacturers to develop and produce devices with modified versions of Android operating system.
- Finally, the company “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators” to ensure that its search engine is exclusively made a default one for their devices.
In this regard, the European Commission fined Google for about $5 billion, and now demands that the company ceases its unlawful conduct “in an effective manner within 90 days of the decision.”
Fine of €4,34 bn to @Google for 3 types of illegal restrictions on the use of Android. In this way it has cemented the dominance of its search engine. Denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits. It’s illegal under EU antitrust rules. @Google now has to stop it
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) July 18, 2018
Google will have to stop forcing device makers to preinstall its browser and search as a requirement to access the Google Play Store and stop preventing manufacturers from powering their handsets with forked versions of Android, as the company “did not provide any credible evidence that Android forks would be affected by technical failures or fail to support apps.”
Unsurprisingly, Google Will Challenge the Decision
Just like with previous record $2.7 billion fine Google faced in the EU last year, the company will appeal the Commission’s decision.
“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation, and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition,” a Google spokesperson told the Verge. “We will appeal the Commission’s decision.”
Notably, the previous aforementioned case when Google decided to object the EU’s decision to levy a hefty $2.7 billion fine is still ongoing and the chances are the company will be trying to stand its ground for years.
Moreover, in a blogpost Google published to explain and justify its approach to Android ecosystem and apps pre-installation, the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai mentioned that the demands of the European Commission might affect the Android business model and that the company might consider licensing its OS to the phonemakers.
President Trump Told Us So!
Meanwhile, US President Trump tweeted that this move by the EU was yet another evidence of everyone in Europe hating the guts of the United States. Well, maybe not that harsh, but for a moment you thought that he totally could write that, right? In actuality, he was a bit less exuberant, and also dropped a hint that the US would fight back.
I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
Whether this threat becomes real, only time can tell. However, considering the ongoing trade war between the US and almost everybody else in the world, the EU has probably given Mr. Trump another casus belli, and it’s pretty likely that he will take some action.
It seems that, as big as this Google’s extraordinary punishment story is, it may become even bigger now that heavyweight players like President Trump, almost no pun intended, got involved in its course. In fact it means that the trade war that has been dubbed stupid on numerous occasions, might reach another level of severity. Or stupidity. Given the existing political and economic situation in the world, this entire story might spawn more than one follow-up. Stay tuned.
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