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Google faces another record fine in EU Android antitrust case

SUCKS TO BE GOOGLE, as the firm reportedly is facing another record fine from the European Commission (EC).

Reuters has the scoop, and reports that the EC is gearing up to slap Google with a second record punishment in relation to over its Android operating system, potentially topping the £2.1bn fine levied against the firm’s Shopping service last month. 

This comes after European regulators last year charged Google of abusing its dominant position in the mobile operating system market by pre-installing its own services and apps in Android smartphones following a complaint by lobby group FairSearch

“We believe that Google’s behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services, and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“Our concern is that by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.”

Google, naturally, has long argued that it’s done nothing wrong, saying in April 2016 that its business model “keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices.”

A decision on the reported ‘record-breaking’ fine is expected this year, and Reuters reports that the EC has handed its own conclusions to a panel of experts for a second opinion.

This fine might not be all that Google needs to worry about, though, as the report notes that the firm could also be forced to unbundle its own apps from Android devices.

Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst, commented: “If Google was forced to unbundle Google Play from its other Digital Life services, handset makers and operators would be free to set whatever they like by default potentially triggering a decline in the usage of Google’s services.” µ

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