Google's record European Union antitrust fine: what does it mean?

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Google faces $5 billion fine over Android - report

The company was ordered by the European Commission on Wednesday to pay €4.34 billion ($5 billion) for unfairly pushing its apps on smartphone users and thwarting competitors.

Google's Android system, which Google lets device makers use for free, runs about 80 percent of the world's smartphones, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

The commission also found that Google paid some manufacturers and mobile operators on the condition that they exclusively pre-install the Google Search app on their devices.

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine", EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

European Union antitrust regulators accused it of abusing the dominance of its Android smartphone operating system by blocking rivals. It also accuses the company of preventing third parties using its Adsense product from displaying search advertisements from Google's competitors - a third case against the company.

Vestager is expected to announce that Google abused its dominant position in the market by making tie-ups with phone makers like South Korea's Samsung and China's Huawei. "They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere", Vestager said.

Google has 90 days to either halt such anti-competitive practices with smartphone makers and telecoms providers or seek a delay of the order while it appeals.

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"Android has enabled this and created more choice for everyone, not less".

"We are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms", Pichai said in a blog. "A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are the classic hallmarks of robust competition".

He said the decision ignores the fact that "Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission's own market survey confirmed".

Its last big fine, totalling 2.42 billion euro (£2.16 billion), was in 2017 for abuse of its monopoly over internet searches.

2013 - Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint about Google's Android business practices to the European Commission.

Europe has hit Google with a record $5 billion fine.

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