E.U. Hits Google With $5 Billion Anti-Trust Fine

(Charles Platiau/Reuters)

The European Union imposed a record breaking $5.1 billion fine on Google Wednesday, alleging the tech giant violated anti-trust law by bundling its search and web browsing tools with the Android operating system that runs on smartphones and tablets.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition chief, ordered Google to stop requiring phone manufacturers to preload their devices with Google’s search engine and Chrome web browser in exchange for providing consumers access to the Android App Store. Vestager wrote that Google uses the approach, which gives the company access to Android users data, as a “vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.”

“These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager said in a statement.

Google must “bring its illegal conduct to an end” within 90 days or risk additional fines of up to 5 percent of its daily global turnover, Vestager told reporters at a press conference in Brussels Wednesday.

Google immediately vowed to appeal the decision in a Wednesday statement. “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” said Google spokesman Al Verney. “A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition.”

The latest sanction comes after European regulators fined Google $2.7 billion in 2017 for prioritizing its shopping-comparison service in users’ search results over third parties.

U.S. regulators have been significantly more reserved in their approach, exploring the possibility of breaking up the massive firm in 2013 before ultimately deciding against it. However, there is a growing appetite for increased regulation among many congressional Democrats and a number of Republicans.

Google shares dropped .4 percent in premarket trading on news of the fine. The share of Google’s revenue resulting from advertising has been steadily increasing in recent years but the trend may recede as the number of mobile users exposed to the search platform due to their choice of phone will presumably decrease.

Most Popular

White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
White House

The Problem with the Mueller Report

So much for collusion. The media conversation has now officially moved on from the obsession of the last two years to obstruction of justice. That’s because the first volume of the voluminous Mueller report, the half devoted to what was supposed to be the underlying crime of a Trump conspiracy with Russia, ... Read More

Screw York Yankees

You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks. The team I have rooted for since 1965, when I first visited the House that Ruth Built, where I hawked peanuts and ice cream a lifetime ago, watched countless games (Guidry striking out 18!), has gotten so ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump Can’t Cry ‘No Fair’

If I may jump in, I take Charlie’s point and I think he’s largely correct. I also think David is correct. There’s not that much of a contradiction in that because I think to some extent they’re talking about different things. And this reflects a larger frustration I have with many of the ... Read More