Google readies itself for 'record fine' in Android antitrust case

The European Commission is set to issue a record penalty to the tech giant tomorrow - reports

The European Commission (EC) is reportedly set to hand Google a record multi-billion Euro fine tomorrow to resolve an antitrust case involving the company's Android operating system.

The investigation examined whether Google was forcing its products on phone makers that use its free OS, which runs on 80% of the world's smartphones, and is expected to result in a penalty that eclipses a 2.14 billion fine the EC imposed on Google last summer for anti-competitive tactics around its online shopping service.

Google is marginalising rivals by forcing its own services and apps - such as Chrome and YouTube - onto phone manufacturers' handsets, the EC said. It called the alleged practice an illegal attempt to ward off the likes of Apple, Facebook and Amazon by keeping users inside Google's own online mobile ecosystem.

The meeting was set for last week, but has been moved to tomorrow so as to not clash with President Trump's trip to Brussels, according to Reuters.

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Google's general counsel, Kent Walker, said last week: "The commission's case is based on the idea that Android doesn't compete with Apple's iOS. We don't see it that way. We don't think Apple does either. Or phone makers. Or developers. Or users."

The reason why Google is being targeted for Android, but Apple is not under any scrutiny for iOS is because the EU doesn't see iOS and Android as the same thing. Android is licensed out onto other phone manufacturers, whereas iOS is only available on iPhone and iPad and other Apple devices, keeping it outside the EC's jurisdiction.

The EC is able to levy a fine of up to $11 billion, which is 10% of Google's parent company, Alphabet's, global turnover.

As well as the antitrust case around Android and the case around its online shopping service, Google faces a third penalty from a separate EC investigation into its AdSense business, claiming the tech giant blocks rivals from placing adverts on third-party websites.

Picture: Shutterstock

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