The EU Commission could fine Google $7.45 billion for pre-loading its apps on Android smartphones

The EU Commission could fine Google $7.45 billion for pre-loading its apps on Android smartphones

It's April already, and as the sun begins to shine and trees start to blossom, the time comes for the annual EU antitrust probe into Google's eurozone operations. At a conference hosted by the Dutch competition authority, commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the organization is "looking closely" at Google's deals with Android smartphone makers and telecoms to establish whether the company's insistence on pre-loading Chrome, Gmail, Drive, Hangouts and the rest of its "Google apps" on mobile devices might be preventing competing apps from reaching customers.

At the same time last year, the EU Commission accused Google of abusing its dominant position in the European search engine market by favoring its own comparison shopping products in results pages. It also embarked on a separate investigation in regards to Android and whether Google took advantage of its leading position in the field of operating systems. Europe's antitrust officers have no qualms about giving big technological corporations like Google and Microsoft trouble. Then again, EU commissioner probes are hardly the stuff of hidden agendas and under-the-table business interest – it's just the law stretching its arm to ensure everything stays in order.

The investigation's outcome will determine whether the EC will charge Google with anti-competitive behaviour. If the latter is found guilty, the authority could impose a fine of up to 10% of Google's annual sales. Last year, the company made $74.5 billion in revenue, which means it could be fined as much as $7.45 billion.

source: Reuters
References: "EU Accuses Google Of Anti-Competitive Behavior & Launches Probe"

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80 Comments

1. wando77

Posts: 1166; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Fine them for putting there own apps on there own operating system...... madness. Is apple getting the same treatment for pre loading safari and apple maps etc?

3. AlikMalix unregistered

I agree this is stupid... You're too lazy to build your own operating system with it's own ecosystem you can use Android (for FREE even) - you cannot complain that someone built their OS to be beneficial to themselves... You got a problem with Google putting their own apps into Google's OS - GTFO....

20. vincelongman

Posts: 5592; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

They aren't even in Android Google's AOSP is free and open source, which OEMs make versions/skins based of Google's Google Mobile Services (GMS) is free collection of their closed sourced apps and services, e.g. Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, Maps, ... If OEMs want to use Google's GMS, they have meet Google's Android CDD and pass the Compatibility Test Suite (both of which Google control) If OEMs want to ignore it, they just have to use other services (like what Amazon do and Microsoft did on the Nokia X)

29. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

But the problem becomes when the whole suite of apps is required if you just want to preload one or two Google Apps. It also only applies to those in a position of Monopoly which Android almost is. I am fine with a bit of scrutiny here because hopefully it gets rid of some of the Google bloat apps (Google are thinking the same thing I believe). Otherwise this is BS because Apple should be under the same scrutiny (but this investigation was likely prompted by MS and Apple as they have done in the states).

31. vincelongman

Posts: 5592; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

True, it is pretty anti-competitive (like I said in #27) Agreed, would be nice if Google were forced to make all apps uninstallable But I dont think Google have a monoploy Android's marketshare in Europe is only about 80% of phones Once you include tablets its even less (maybe 70%?, I cant find a stat) I believe Windows's marketshare was over 90%

39. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Just make everything uninstallable. No reason to waste device storage by marking them permanent. This make app update use additional storage.

50. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google has a monopoly. They have the edge in search engines, video via youtube, and in smartphone os. They're a monopoly.

55. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yes! So is Apple. Apple entire business model is rigged. In term of monopoly, Apple is the prime example for all inspire would be monopolise.

57. Mxyzptlk unregistered

This is about google but of course the only reason to bring up Apple is so you can deflect.

62. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Lol we are expecting a lack of reading comprehension and critical though from hardcore iFans so your comments are no surprise. But just to help you out, I've taken a small piece is the article out to help you. "Devices running on Apple's proprietary iOS software account for another 27 percent, leaving other systems such as Microsoft (MSFT.O) or Blackberry (BB.TO) barely registering in the rankings." So they're fellow monopolists. Also: "FairSearch, which is backed by Google rivals including Microsoft (MSFT.O), Nokia (NOKIA.HE) and Oracle (ORCL.N), lodged the first official EU complaint against Android in 2013." So this kind of crap is usually instigated by competitors like MS and Apple like in the US case with the patent troll Rockstar. Likely the only reason Apple isn't being pushed by this group is because they are also pushing against Google in the US with some of its members.

70. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

i think all three giant tech companies should be trial for monopoly and pay a fine according to their income stream. i just don't understand what are the fan boy protecting? Their income or their pride? Neither, so it must be their stupidity!!!

59. vijaysivakula

Posts: 229; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

You do not need the whole suite of apps for just one or two Google apps. All you need is the framework and the play store. Every other Google app can be uninstalled. And yes, Apple should be sued too for the very same reason that is mentioned.

85. 2.5GHz

Posts: 270; Member since: Apr 03, 2016

Google's policy isn't anti-competitive. Either you preload all of it's GMS apps, or you leave all of it. Simple.

9. MSi_GS70 unregistered

It is like microsoft has their own soft called windows and they put it's own w media player and IE and others tried do the same.. firefox,mozilla etc.. they didn't succeeded .. Ppl trying mad things these days cos are poor and wants just money..

22. vincelongman

Posts: 5592; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Android's marketshare in Europe is only about 80% of phones Once you include tablets its even less I believe Windows's marketshare was over 90% So Google dont really have a monoploy

63. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Monopoly isn't defined by pure 80% based, it is defined by influence. And if you are influencing the options, and have enough pull that OEMs have a 'guided' choice, then yes they can get hit. MS fought it, now Google does. I think both were stupid levies

69. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I glad we can agree on this, influence. So base on this Apple and Microsoft both have 100%. I hope the relevant anti trust agency should also look into them. If there any amendments to be made, I would think we should measure monopoly via industry income revenue. It's smarter to go where the money is than to go after a company that actively contributing to the industry thru open sourcing their software.

73. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

If MS had that kind of pull, their mobile division wouldn't be at 3%. However, when OEMs are 'strong armed' into pulling the plug on a dual boot system, or pulling the plug on a simple fork in fear of being kicked out of the Google sphere...there is a problem. Yes a prominent OEM wanted to fork android, Google threatened to kick them out because any user of Google's Android are prohibited of forking android anymore. Open source doesn't give you license to practice outside of the box. I still think it is dumb, it was dumb against MS and it is dumb against google. I find it overly dumb of the things MS even had to do. Imagine opening your phone up for the first time, and when you go to download an app from the playstore - your competitors information popped up first, like amazon playstore etc...happened with IE. Or want to listen to music on your phone? Nope sorry, cant have one with the OS gotta download one first. At some point 3rd party has to take a back seat, otherwise what do we expect from a phone that is protected? A dialer app? and nothing more?

11. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5474; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Apple doesn't have a dominant market share with iOS. If they did, they would get the same treatment. And manufacturers are still free to offer Android without Google apps, but that would mean no Play store as well. The EU has issues with Google demanding a lot of Google apps come preinstalled when the Playstore is installed as well.

47. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

It shouldn't matter what their market-share is. The apps are needed to support the functions and capabilities of the phone. No one bitched at Nokia, or RIM or Palm for bundling apps. if some other OEm started this BS, they should be scolded via social media.

53. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5474; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Not all apps that Google wants brands to install are needed, especially with brands putting their own version of those apps on the phone.

51. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Goes to show you how manipulative and antitrust Google is Mr. Clueless rebel.

52. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5474; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Awww how sweet that you think Apple is any better.. Remember those eBook price fixing lawsuits? Any conglomerate isn't to be trusted and if you do, you're as clueless as you claim I am

14. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Apple could never get the same treatment because iOS is a closed OS and they own all the rights to it. Apple can pre-load all they want and no one can do a thing about. I will agree, that fining Google for preloading its own apps onto android devices is indeed madness.

23. vincelongman

Posts: 5592; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

No its to do with marketshare If Apple had over 90% marketshare they would get targeted Like Microsoft was

27. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

As long as Apple doesn't deal in Anti-competitive practices then it doesn't matter how much market share they have. Google is being investigated for preloading its own apps onto android, pre loading apps could be considered Anti-competitive. Google wouldn't have a problem at all if they owned all the rights to Android and it was a closed OS.

28. vincelongman

Posts: 5592; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

No its because of: 1. Google's very high marketshare 2. Google's GMS conditions (which I'd agree are anti-competitive) See my comment above for the detailed explanation about GMS Apple does various anti-competitive practices of their own, but their lower marketshare allows them to avoid monoploy laws

41. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Ok Ok.

35. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5474; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Apple preloads apps as well, but what about only one Appstore allowed, Safari must be the default browser, stuff like that are considered anti-competitive practices. But since they don't have a dominant market share, it doesn't matter. Also, Google does own the rights to Android, open/closed source has nothing to do with it (just look at Windows, closed source too and MS got slapped on the wrist too)

40. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3935; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Microsoft owns part of android right?

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