European Union (EU) on Wednesday fined $5 billion to the internet giant Google over violating its anti-trust laws. Google was accused of abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.
Due to the visit of US President Donald Trump to NATO summit in Brussels last week, the decision was delayed by the European Commission.
It comes just over a year after the Commission slapped a landmark US $2.8 billion penalty on Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, for favouring its shopping service over those of competitors.
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The Android decision is the most important of a trio of antitrust cases against Google. With the company able to make its ads show up in more smartphone apps than any other tech rival, Google’s app network has quietly become a huge search engine, with few rivals to challenge its authority.
Regulators said, “Google tilted the field in its favour by forcing smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search together with its Play Store and Chrome browser, sign agreements not to sell devices on rival Android systems and also pay smartphone makers to only pre-install Google Search on devices.”
Google denied the charges, saying “that bundling search with its Google Play allows it to offer the entire package for free, and that smartphone makers and users have a wide choice”.
The case came in limelight in 2013 with a complaint by the lobbying group.
The Android case was triggered by a 2013 complaint by lobbying group FairSearch whose members at the time included competitors such as Oracle, Nokia and Microsoft.