The European Commission has announced on Wednesday the imposition of a record fine of 4,300 million euros (about 5,000 million dollars) to Google for violating the antitrust rules of the European Union.
The measure is due to the fact that the American technological giant demanded from manufacturers of devices that operate with Android, the default installation of certain applications such as Google Search or the Chrome browser. The European Commission considers that through this maneuver Google safeguards its advertising business arbitrarily, violates the principles of competition and affects, ultimately, consumers.
“Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to consolidate their dominant position in general Internet search services,” the statement said. In this sense, the executive body of the European bloc orders the US company to end this behavior within 90 days, “or face coercive fines of up to 5% of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover”, the parent company of Google.
Google’s tool to consolidate its domain
According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for the European Competition Policy, the technology giant has imposed restrictions on mobile device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on devices with Android operating system is directed to the search engine. Google.
In this way the company “has used Android as a vehicle to consolidate the dominance of its search engine, these practices have deprived its competitors of the possibility to innovate and compete based on its merits (…) This is illegal,” said Vestager.
This new fine imposed on Google by Brussels far exceeds that of 2,400 million euros, applied in 2017, for manipulating the search results in its favor “in a systematic way”.
According to Reuters, the sanction applied this day was already prepared since last week, but the European Commission decided to postpone it for the visit to Brussels of the US president, Donald Trump, to take part in the NATO summit.
The technological giant, for its part, has denied the accusations, arguing that the search combined with its applications allows it to offer all its packages for free, and that with this both the mobile device manufacturers and their users have more options.
This fine occurs in the midst of the US trade dispute and the European Union, which imposed tariffs on US products, in response to Washington’s decision to tax EU imports of aluminum and steel.