EU's Vestager to brief Google CEO ahead of record Android fine

Google CEO Sundar Pichai   Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

To further clarify, this means that the commission can fine Alphabet almost £8.4 billion. The European Commission is empowered to fine Google up to 10% of its annual turn-over, or around $11 billion, and the new fine is expected to eclipse that sum.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission's Competition Chief has been overlooking the case for the last 3 years after complaints were received regarding Google enforcing its apps over manufacturers in exchange for a license for them to use the Android platform in their phones.

The European Commission's case centres on the search firm's dominance in the Android app market and how this benefits Google in terms of advertising.

Although it is not expected to use the full extent of its powers, the fine is likely to be higher than the $2.7 billion Google was ordered to pay in June previous year over claims it stuffed search results with its own shopping adverts, squeezing out price comparison services. "A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition".

Google is set to face a record-busting European Union antitrust fine this week over its Android mobile operating system.

Another area of inquiry is Google's policy of not allowing manufacturers to sell Android if they sell unofficial forks of the mobile operating system.

The European Commission, the 28-nation EU's executive arm, refused to comment.

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Regulatory action is probably too late because of Google's entrenched position, said analyst Richard Windsor at research company Radio Free Mobile.

Brussels has repeatedly targeted Google over the past decade amid concerns about the Silicon Valley giant's dominance of Internet search across Europe, where it commands about 90 percent of the market. "On Android, Google's apps typically account for less than one-third of the preloaded apps on the device".

Vestager's other scalps include Amazon and Apple.

The EU ordered Apple in 2016 to pay Ireland 13 billion euros in back taxes that the maker of iPhones and iPads had avoided by a tax deal with Dublin.

But Brussels has had United States tech giants in its sights for a decade in a half, since it imposed a huge 497 million euro fine on Microsoft in 2004 for anti-competitive behaviour and ruled it must make changes to its Windows system.

The EU "will react firmly" to defend its interests against steep USA trade tariffs on steel and aluminium, the European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday (1 March).

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