United States President Donald Trump has found one more reason to criticise the European Union. He attacked the EU’s decision to fine Google a record €4.34bn over Android.
An investigation by the European Commission found the US tech company had required smartphone operators to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps or lose access to its online store and streaming service.
“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 US, but not for long!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
As reported by The Guardian, Trump’s comments come amid escalating tension between the EU and the Trump administration.
In an interview with CBS in Scotland last week, Trump described the EU as a “foe”.
Asked to identify his biggest foe globally, Trump replied: “Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.”
What is more, the EU has locked horns with the US over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium, a move that has sparked a global backlash and could lead to a worldwide trade war.
“These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits,” says Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner. “They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.”
As reported by Bloomberg, the EU’s decision conceives of competition too narrowly. Android may be a dominant operating system, but because it’s free and open-source, it has vastly expanded the range of choices otherwise available to consumers. Developers around the world have built products using Android — including many of the 1.6 million Europeans who make apps for a living — and often offer them free of charge.