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What Google's Android antitrust punishments would look like

Leaked EU document shows severe fines if Google loses case

03/10/2016: EU antitrust regulators are planning to put a block on Google paying handset manufacturers money for preinstalling its search app on devices rather than a rival internet search tool.

The European Commission (EC) issued a 150-page document outlining possible punishments for Google should it lose the case, sending it to Google's competitors, who have aired their concerns about the apparently unfair actions by the world's biggest search engine.

The EC's statement of objections said manufacturers should refuse to take payment from Google, and Google should not offer discounts to mobile phone manufacturers who preinstall Google Play or its Google Search tool.

The same guidelines apply to other Google apps that may stop manufacturers being able to offer alternatives.

An additional clause said Google "cannot punish or threaten" any companies who decide not to comply and opt to install their own app stores instead of Google Play.

The document also stated that, should Google continue these alleged anticompetitive practices, the commission intends to fine Google an amount that "will be sufficient to ensure deterrence."

In response to the report, Google said:"We look forward to showing the European Commission that we've designed the Android model in a way that's good for both competition and consumers, and supports innovation across the region."

Image removed.22/09/2016: Google has been granted yet another extension to respond to the European Commission on antitrust charges.

Google is accused of anti-competition around mobile operating systems, with the EC investigating if it abused Android dominance to damage rival app makers.

"A competitive mobile internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe," said competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager at the time of original charges back in April. "Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google's behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of EU antitrust rules."

Google had been due to file a response to the EU this week, but it's been given a third extension, setting the new deadline at 7 October.

The EC said Google wanted "additional time to review the documents in the case file". The initial deadline was back in July. That was extended until 7 September, and again until 20 September.

That may sound cheeky, but have some pity for Google's legal team - it has had a busy month thanks to EC commissioner Vestager's antitrust work, and also faces filing deadlines next month in separate cases over shopping search results and competition in search advertising.

Reports suggest the EC isn't in any rush to see Google's response, seeing nothing to gain from a speedy case.

Google has denied it's done anything wrong, but if the EU finds otherwise it faces fines of up to 10% of its global revenue for each charge.

13/07/2016:EU grants Google extension to respond to Android antitrust charges

Google has been granted a six-week extension to respond to EU antitrust charges that its Android mobile OS, and its built-in apps, are disrupting competition in the mobile apps market.

The European Commission originally gave Alphabet-owned Google until 27 July to answer the charges. The web services giant now has until early September.

"The Commission has agreed to extend Google's deadline to respond to its Statement of Objections concerning Android and its applications until 7 September. Google asked for additional time to review the documents in the case file," said EU spokesman Ricardo Cardoso.

The EU slapped Google with heavy antitrust charges in April, after the watchdog concluded that mobile manufacturers installing Google's apps, such as Google Search, Google Chrome and Google Play, was harming competition and consumer choice.

Google is facing fines of up to 5.6 billion ($7.4 billion) or 10 per cent of its global turnover for each antitrust charge.

In addition to EU antitrust charges, Google is facing other court battles related to its services. Getty Images has accused Google of "promoting privacy" because of its Google Image Search.

The EU is also due to launch another antitrust investigation into Google, this time targeting the company's advertising services.

In February, Google won a case against UK map provider, Streetmap, which claimed the company used its search dominance to promote Google Maps over alternatives.

IT Pro has contacted Google for comment.

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