The European Commission gave the internet search firm 90 days to stop the practice or face a penalty of up to five per cent of the average daily turnover of the firm’s parent company, Alphabet.
She further went on to state how these restrictions have denied consumers the opportunity to benefit from a healthy competition between the tech giant and its rival, deeming any such practices illegal.
Google has built a massive business of banner and videos ads, thanks largely to its central role on Android devices.
Google’s Android operating system is the world’s most popular mobile software system, and is installed on more than 80 percent of smartphones globally.
It said that Google paid some large smartphone makers and network operators to install apps on phones before they were sold.
The European Commission exceeds last year’s then-record 2.4 billion-euro penalty following an investigation into Google’s shopping-search service. It could soon be followed by more fines from a probe into online advertising contracts.
But Brussels has had USA tech giants in its sights for a decade and a half, having imposed a huge 497 million euro fine on Microsoft in 2004 for anti-competitive behavior and ruled it must make changes to its Windows system. “We intend to appeal”, Pichai said.
The Commission says that Google abused its position by forcing manufacturers to bundle Google Search and Chrome apps into Android.
This is one of the main abuses that the EC mentioned, because it prevents competition from other search services or browsers such as Firefox to gain significant market share on Android.
Responding, Google refused suggestions it had forced device-makers to preload any of its apps. Android is supposedly an open-source operating system that others can modify into a less Google-centric product, but Google’s tactics shut down that competitive potential-notably, Amazon (amzn) wasn’t able to get any manufacturers to make devices using its Android-derived Fire OS mobile operating system. Pichai also stresses that Android has become so successful because of app support, and Google’s technical compatibility rules have ensured that most devices work with those apps.
Google is in some hot water, and it’s not just about a record-setting fine. “The commission’s approach. would mean less innovation, less choice, less competition, and higher prices”, Google’s global affairs chief said in a recent blog post.
It’s the second such fine the European Union has slapped on the tech giant in just over a year and could mean big changes to the world’s most popular platform.
Google has continually contested it has done anything wrong.
If the ruling stands, consumers within the European Union could soon find many more Android smartphones being offered with non-Google web browsers and search engines set as the default. Currently, an OEM that wants to partner with Google and sell certified devices with Google services can not also go out and sell devices with incompatible Android forks – something built from open source without support for standard Android software and features.