European Interest

Google to be fined by EU

Flickr/Johan Larsson/CC BY 2.0

The European Union’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is slated to strike a blow against US internet giant. On August 18, she will announce that Google abused its dominant position in the market by making tie-ups with phone makers Samsung and Huawei.

EU sources say Google will be slapped with a fine of several billion euros for freezing out rivals of its Android mobile phone system.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the long-awaited decision comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount due to President Donald Trump‘s shock decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports.

Two European sources told AFP the fine would be “several billion euros” without giving further details. EU rules say Google could be fined up to 10% of parent company Alphabet’s annual revenue, which hit $110.9bn in 2017.

“The fine is based on the length of the infraction, but also on whether anti-trust authorities believe there was an intention to commit the offence, and whether they excluded competitors or not,” said another source close to the matter.

The complaint formally lodged in April accuses Google of requiring mobile manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei to pre-install its search engine and Google Chrome browser on phones, and to set Google Search as the default, as a condition of licensing some Google apps.

Google is also accused of preventing manufacturers from selling smartphones that run on rival operating systems based on the Android open source code.

Google also gave “financial incentives” to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they pre-installed Google Search on their devices, the commission said.

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