EU Plans to Fine Google for Anti-Competitive Android Practices
The road in Europe is looking to become rockier for Google and Alphabet, as the antitrust proceedings against the company in the European Union are looking to culminate with a hefty fine and some drastic changes.
As per a new report published by Reuters, EU’s antitrust regulators are planning to order Google to stop offering financial incentives to smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search exclusively. This order is a result of the investigation against the search giant where it was accused to using Android and its dominance to shut out rivals, thus creating an anti-competitive environment.
The regulators plan to order Google to “halt payments or discounts” to OEMs given to pre-install Play Store along with Google Search. They also want to prevent the pre-installation of proprietary apps as well, if it restricts the ability to use competing OSs based on Android. The report mentions that Google “cannot punish or threaten” companies for not complying with its conditions.
In addition to all of this, EU also plans to levy a large fine because the anti-competitive practices are still ongoing from the time they went into effect in January 2011. The level of the fine would be “sufficient to ensure deterrence”. The penalty could be based on European AdWords revenue, Google Search product queries, Play Store app purchases and AdMob’s in-app advertisements.
These fines and orders are related to the anti-competitive nature of Android preloaded with the Play Store. There is one more investigation underway for the Search end of things, where Google is accused of favoring its own sopping service over those of its rivals. This could in turn be a separate fine, but the decision for this would be decided at a later stage.
All in all, the next few months could impact Google and Alphabet right in the pocket. The antitrust order also has the potential to change the Android landscape as Google would be forced to let off its aggressive hold on Android and loosen its stance on derivative forks. Companies like Samsung would then be open to test out Google Play Store-less routes like Amazon did with its Fire lineup of phones and tablets, without giving up the freedom to also continue with providing Android with the Play Store.
What are your thoughts on these purported fine and orders? Do you think Google deserves a fine for their anti-competitive practices? Let us know in the comments below!