The European Union has been investigating Google for years over claims that the company has developed a monopoly in the online sector. That lawsuit has come to an end today, and it’s bringing an enormous $5 billion dollar fine with it.
The EU Commission states that Google locked other search engines out of the market due to how Android phones are more-or-less forced to ship with Google Chrome, Google Search, and other Google apps by default. Manufacturers can ship devices without those Google apps, but they lose the Play Store, which is hardly a worthwhile tradeoff.
It goes a little further than that, however. In addition to requiring Google apps to be installed, Google also paid manufacturers to exclusively stick with Google software, and in some cases prevented manufacturers from creating mobile devices with, say, Microsoft or Amazon apps instead, limiting consumer choice.
One example of this that the EU noted was Google stopping manufacturers from making devices and boxes for Amazon’s Fire TV, forcing them to stick with Android TV or in-house software instead of using a competitor’s ecosystem. This decision will force Google to loosen their restrictions on Android and Play Services (at least in Europe) so there’s a chance you’ll see manufacturers try and ship devices with software from other companies in addition to Google on your smartphones going forward.
Google says they’ll appeal the fine, which is currently the biggest fine ever levied by the EU and is twice as big as the fine that Google was slapped with last year for manipulating shopping results.
Being a large company, especially one the size of Google, comes with some bureaucratic red tape to deal with, but man, Google’s really dug some holes.
source: European Commission