Google Facing Severe EU Fines For Anti-Competitive Android Bundle Policies

Google is in the European Union’s dog house. The EU plans to fine the global corporation for supposed anti-competitive bundling policies. Google has been accused of paying smartphone producers to exclusively pre-install the Google search engine on smart devices. The EU wants to prevent the company from pressuring smartphone makers if it prevents from competing operating systems based on Android.

The “statement of object” in the complaint document explains that the EU plans to force Google to stop its payments and discounts to smartphone makers who pre-install Google’s Play Store with Google Search. The document also noted that Google “cannot punish or threaten” companies who do not comply with its demands.

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European Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated earlier this spring, "Google’s behavior has harmed consumers by stifling competition and harming innovation in the wider Internet space."

The EU antitrust regulators sent a one hundred and fifty page document to complainants last week for feedback. The document was sent to Google this past April. Google has of course argued that the EU is mistaken.

Google contends that partner agreements are voluntary and manufacturers who want to "participate" in the Android ecosystem help make sure key apps work with each device. It also noted that companies can "then choose to load the suite of Google apps", as well as apps from competitors, such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon. It contends that Android is offered for free and “offset our costs through the revenue we generate on our Google apps and services we distribute via Android.”

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Google could potentially be fined between $3.4 billion and $7.4 billion USD. The fines are particularly large in this case because the EU’s accusations go back to January 2011.

Google recently commented, "We look forward to showing the European Commission that we've designed the Android model in a way that's good for both competition and consumers, and supports innovation across the region."

Via:  Reuters
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