Google Appeals That $5 Billion EU Android Antitrust Fine—But It’s Changing Its Ways Nonetheless
The company announced the appeal Tuesday, just before the Wednesday cut-off date for being able to do so. This means Google is now appealing two massive antitrust fines in the EU—the other fine, totalling $2.7 billion, was handed down in mid-2017 as punishment for Google’s abuse of its search-engine market dominance.
The larger fine relates to several abuses in the Android world. The European Commission found that Google illegally forced phone manufacturers who preinstall Google’s Android apps to stop selling any phones using non-Google versions of Android—supposedly an open-source operating system that’s open to adaptation. This stopped Amazon from being able to find third-party companies to make devices using its Android-based Fire OS.
Google also forced Android phone-makers to preinstall Google’s search engine and Chrome browser, if those manufacturers wanted to use Google’s app store. And it paid manufacturers to make Google Search the default search engine on their devices.
All these practices must now cease and, interestingly, Google has not asked the EU to pause that process. This means it needs to change its ways by the end of this month, or face more enormous fines.
As those extra fines could run as high as 5% of global revenue for each day of infringement, and as the appeal process could last for years, flouting the new rules could have ended up an extremely costly gamble.