Trump says 'I told you so!' after Europe fines Google $7.4 billion

Jeannie Matthews
July 20, 2018

Google will be fined about 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) by the European Union over apps for Android mobile devices, setting a record for antitrust penalties, according to a person familiar with the EU decision.

European Union regulators announced on Wednesday it was hitting Google with a $5 billion fine for violating antitrust laws by bundling its apps, like Chrome and Google Play, with its Android operating system. 'In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.

Google was previously penalized by the European Commission just past year, when the search giant was slapped with a $2.7 billion fine for lowering the ranking of competitor shopping comparison tools to promote its own.

It has also taken on Facebook over privacy issues after it admitted that millions of users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Trump's 2016 election campaign.

The fine is the largest ever issued by the European Commission in an antitrust case and will surpasses the €2.42bn penalty issued to the Silicon Valley firm previous year. Crucially, by default all Android phones use Google as the default search engine and Google Chrome as the default web browser.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai immediately released a statement on Wednesday following the decision.

In its ruling, the European Union said Google broke the rules by requiring cellphone makers to take a bundle of Google apps if they wanted any at all.

Ms. Vestager also ordered Google to halt anti-competitive practices in contractual deals with smartphone makers and telecoms providers within 90 days or face additional penalties of up to 5 per cent of parent Alphabet's average daily worldwide turnover.

"The FTC should end its decade of inaction and deference, and confront the mounting evidence that Google's business practices have stifled robust competition in a market that is critical to our economy and society", said Democratic Sen.

That figure represented a doubling in global revenue in only four years. That would yield crucial real estate for app developers given that about 80 percent of smart mobile devices use Android.

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