EU is about to slap Google with €1+ billion fine for abusing search practices


In the next few weeks, the EU is expected to come out with a decision on an investigation probing Google’s business practices, and the tech giant is facing a fine that may exceed €1 billion euro, according to Financial Times’ sources familiar with the matter. The European Commission and Google have not commented yet, but if the information is correct, it may be an indicator that a multi-year antitrust case is coming to a closure.

The European Commission accuses Google of abusing its dominant position in the European search engine market. The service in sight is Google Shopping, which allows users to compare prices of products between different vendors, and the investigators claim that the tech giant is using its own search algorithms to over-represent its service in the search results. If the giant is found guilty, the Commission could impose a fine of up to 10% of the company’s revenues totalling to $90 billion last year, according to Financial Times.

It is not the only investigation that puts Google under the European Commission’s magnifying glass, though. The EU regulator is also looking whether the company's insistence on pre-loading its apps on mobile devices actually prevents competing apps from reaching customers.

source: Financial Times

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35 Comments

1. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

EU's dictatorship will soon to be collapsed, Google did nothing wrong on this tbh

13. zacsaturday

Posts: 262; Member since: May 09, 2014

I guess the EU are trying to fix their 200 billion budget hole that has partly occurred from the UK leaving.

21. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

UK had massive rebates and unfair budget position in the EU, them leaving is actually very good on many levels.

16. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Free money why not! 1 Billion dollars fine is pure greed. If they ask for 100 million maybe Google could still accommodate.

22. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

It's a fine for Google's greed.

20. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

Google did nothign wrong? Fixing search results is very wrong. Forcing OEMs to install useless apps is very wrong.

2. Phonehex

Posts: 756; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

So Google should develop Android ,give it away for free and not even pre load its own services? EU : Yeah sure. Why not?

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

EU's argument is that Google should provide access to the Play Store to forked Android, those Android versions which do not have Google's services pre-installed. Ridiculous.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

android versions without google's service? did you mean "chinese version" of android? vanilla android always come with google services.. if someone decided to make his own custom android without google services (like chinese did for their own region) it's not google's fault

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

There are other non-chinese versions of Android without GAPPS, Amazon had it on their Kindle. The problem with forked versions of Android (which are allowed), they are not allowed to pre-install the Play store (and the Google Play services) without installing a bunch of other Google Apps. And let's face it, Android without Google Play services is seriously crippled, so companies are forced into pre-installing a bunch of apps.

11. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The main argument I've seen is that not allowing the Playstore on forked Android versions is perceived as an unfair advantage. If you suggest that companies putting out these forked Android versions create their own app store, they say that it's too costly and wouldn't catch on. What they fail to realize is that the Playstore didn't just magically happen overnight. It took Google time and money to grow it to what it is today. But these other companies don't want to put in the work, they want it right now and for nothing.

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Oh please! Since when did Google sue anyone that self pre-load play store. Everyone that use custom ROM has to pre-load play store without Google permission.

18. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hey I can't blame Google for pushing their own apps if you want to install the Play store. Just the EU wasn't happy about it nor brands who make phones

29. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

No, Play Store's success is based on Android's popularity. Popularity which comes from the fact that it's an open source code and OEMs can implement a lot of changes. there's no reason to waste space on Chrome or rubbish Google Music when OEMs have their own apps that are miles better. And all reviewers bragging about "bloatware" - yes, Google is a bloatware.

31. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Yes it is. So why is it that other companies should be able to reap the rewards of Google work? The Android that most people are familiar with is what I call Google Android. It comes with all of their apps including the Playstore preloaded. AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is just that open source, it doesn't have any G-apps or the Playstore. AOSP is open source, Google's apps including the Playstore are not they're proprietary. Google's revenue comes from data mining apps for targeted ads. That money is used to develop Android and maintain the Playstore. So they should just lose that revenue stream but still develop Android and maintain the Playstore? No one is forcing any of these OEMs to use Android or from starting their own app store. Some OEMs are working on their own OS's with their own app store (Samsung for example). Google is also not preventing OEMs from installing their own apps or even setting them as the default (look at most any OEM that has access to the Playstore and you'll see their apps front and center). Now you can say that without the OEMs Android would be nothing. Well I'd counter that without Android, these OEMs would be miles behind Apple (and probably behind WM, BlackBerry, and even Symbian). Google gave OEMs essentially a free OS that they could customize and access to an app store Google hosted and maintained. I'd guarantee that without Android, the number of smartphone OEMs would be a fraction of what it currently is.

5. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

When you have a product that has the dominant market share, the rules change to protect consumers and other companies. If Android is shipped with uninstallable apps, the competition has a harder time getting a chance. Same back then with Windows and built-in Iexplore. Only after Microsoft were forced to show users a browser choice did the use of other browsers really pick up.

12. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The difference between the Microsoft/IE incident and this is that MS wasn't allowing hardware OEMs to install any other search engines on their PCs. Whereas Google is only saying that they want their apps installed in addition to whatever the OEMs install. There's nothing stopping these OEMs from installing their own competing apps, or even making them the default, they only need to be present. That's the difference.

19. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Not so sure Microsoft didn't allow a different search engine, but getting a PC with not windows was hard back then. And of course you can install the apps. The system ones will be there. Most users are okay with the apps onboard and dont look any further.

32. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

That was the whole crux of the lawsuit. They were preventing other competing search engines to he preloaded. I argued that Google isn't doing that here, only that their apps be included for Playstore access. But people on the other side of the argument said that no one's going to install apps if they're not already on the phone, so Google has a preferred position. I always wondered, if end users aren't going to install different apps, then why do they need access to an app store?

33. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

There are more apps in the playstore than just Google app replacements.

34. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I know that. But they make it seem like end users either can't be bothered with or don't know how to download apps, yet they want access to an app store.

10. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Have you ever used Google search,... it's a tad bogus. You don't get the best price search for product..... just The top highest paid advertiser search. Whoever pays the most gets priority query staging.....you The consumer loses because your search only brings prices of The highest payer to The top of The search results......

23. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

That's the idea of the open source software. Android is so popular because it's an open source code.

7. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

I don't want Google to crumble and allow forked versions access to the play store. This is hurtful, don't know about the shopping service but I hope nothing comes of not allowing forked version access to play services. We need to clean Android up and get back to the roots of this amazing OS, but can't do that when it's being ruined by Oems.

24. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

Android is so big because it's open and has many skins. Your idea would kill it.

8. TerryD

Posts: 543; Member since: May 09, 2017

Go on Google, shut down your search engine in the EU for a week and let them rely on Bing

27. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

It would hurt Google much more than EU.

9. gigicoaste

Posts: 442; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

I cannot match the comments with the article. What has to do Google Shopping with free android or no Google play?? According to the article Google is influencing shoping searches.. am I right? Do I miss something? THX!

26. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

There are couple of charges. Fixing search results is one of them. Forcing OEMs to install Google's bloatware is another.

14. jove39

Posts: 2145; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

This European Union BS has to stop. They are charging ransom from foreign companies operating in Europe.

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