Google facing $5 billion fine by European Union for anti-trust violations

The American internet giant was fined $2.7 billion by the EU last year as well, for manipulating shopping search results.

  • Published: July 18, 2018 5:01 PM IST

Google has received a €4.3 billion ($5 billion, Rs 34,250 crore) fine by the European Union for anti-trust violations related to its Android operating system and the app and service bundling on the system. The fine is the highest ever levied on an organization by the EU, and is nearly twice as much as the previous record fine of $2.7 billion, which was incidentally also slapped on Google only last year for manipulating shopping search results.

This particular matter relates to Google bundling the Chrome and Google Search apps as the default services on the Android operating system, thereby giving these services a direct advantage over competitors for users on the Android platform. The EU has viewed this as an anti-competitive measure, with Google using its dominant position as the developer of the Android platform to further promote its own services, including its highly profitable search service and the Chrome browser.

The EU notably has some of the toughest anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws in the world, and has in the past levied big fines on Intel, Microsoft and Facebook as well. This particular fine on Google is the largest ever levied by the EU for anti-trust related matters, and there could be further fines following a probe into online advertising contracts, according to a report by Bloomberg.

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Google runs the Android platform as open-source software for smartphones, which would mean that the platform is open to any smartphone maker to adopt on its devices. However, while the framework is open-source, Google has many restrictions that allow it to heavily control the way manufacturers implement the operating system on their devices. These restrictions have been the target of these anti-trust probes and fines. Google is expected to appeal the ruling just as it has appealed the earlier fine, and whether the company is actually made to pay these fines is still some years away from being decided.

  • Published Date: July 18, 2018 5:01 PM IST