Have you ever felt that Google is just too powerful of a corporation? You’re not alone in that sentiment, because the massive corporation has just been fined $5 billion by The European Commission for violating several antitrust laws, a record-breaking amount. According to the EU regulators, Google has displayed monopolization of the market in three ways:
- Making it mandatory to bundle the Google search engine and Chrome apps with their Android OS.
- Preventing phone manufacturers from using Android’s OS to create their own independent version, called “forking.”
- Paying manufacturers and phone carriers to exclusively have Google’s search engine app pre-installed on phones.
Google has appealed the decision and come out in defense of their actions, denying that they are diminishing competition and are, instead, increasing it. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has stated that the pre-installed apps can be removed from Android devices without much effort and that users are free to download any alternative from a third-party. Also, he has rebutted the accusation that they are preventing manufacturers from forking the OS by making reference to Amazon’s own version being used in their Fire devices.
This is definitely not the first time that Google has been threatened in such a way. In 2013, the corporation had a complaint filed against it by a group of their competitors, including Microsoft and Nokia, where it was called a monopoly that should be controlled by authorities. Google is also no stranger to the EU combating it, as last year they were fined $2.7 billion for controlling and changing search engine results to give priority to its comparison shopping service.
The main voice behind the EU’s decision is Margrethe Vestager, the antitrust chief of the European Commission. According to Vestager, “Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.”
So, what does this all mean for Google? Well, the corporation has 90 days to change the offending conduct, or else they will face more charges that would amount to a percentage of their average daily worldwide revenue. The major threat that this decision holds for Google is the fact that their advertising model relies heavily on the advertising they’re able to put into their bundled apps. Because of this, Google has stated that the free business model of Android that is provided to phone manufacturers may be threatened going forward. Only time may tell what the ultimate decision will be, and whether or not Google’s dominance will finally start to change.
by Jessica Grioua