Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

Android figurines (Source: Google. Copyright: Google)

Android figurines (Source: Google. Copyright: Google)

A final word on the thorny EU vs Google case over Android antitrust charges could arrive as soon as next month, according to people familiar with the matter. Late last week, Reuters announced that the EU antitrust investigation into Google’s operative system Android could be on the way of concluding shortly, and that the American tech giant could face a world-record breaking fine already in the coming weeks. Indeed, the potential ruling by Brussels could top the record € 2.4 billion ($2.8 billion) fine against the search giant for other alleged antitrust abuses related to shopping services, and could even reach the 10 percent of Alphabet’s annual turnover: 11 billion dollars.

Background

In 2015 the European Commission accused Google of using its dominant Android mobile operating system to block competitors. The preliminary view by the European Commission was that the Mountain View, California-based company had abused its dominant position and unfairly restricted competition by pre-installing Android apps on smartphones. “The commission is concerned that Google’s behaviour has harmed consumers by restricting competition and innovation”, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition Chief, said at those times. “Rival search engines and mobile operating systems have not been able to compete on their merits”.

In 2016 then, almost exactly a year after formally opening the investigation, the European Commission officially filed formal charges against the search giant for anticompetitive behaviour related to Android. In multiple formal responses to the EU’s watchdog, Google has always denied any wrongdoing, and objected to basically all of the EC’s premises. Kent Walker, senior Vice President and general counsel for Google, said in 2016 that Android ecosystem “carefully balances the interests of users, developers, hardware makers, and mobile network operators”. “Android hasn’t hurt competition, it’s expanded it”, Mr. Walker said in a formal Google response to the European Commission.

Looming judgement

But despite such clear-cut appeals by the Mountain View, California-based tech company, the European Commission is now expected to proceed in full against Google, according to people familiar with the matter. Last Thursday, the Financial Times and Reuters were among the first news outlets to announce that some judgement on Google’s ongoing antitrust Android case could be passed as soon as next month. Reuters reported that, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter, the European Commission could issue its decision in the week of July 9, and that the penalty is likely to top the record 2.4-billion-euro ($2.8 billion) fine handed out to Google last year for unfairly favouring its shopping service.

World record fine

Indeed, the European Commission has the power to impose fines up to 10 percent of a business’ global turnover. In this case, the size of the potential fine could be as high as $11 billion, the 10 percent of Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) annual turnover. And although it’s considered unlikely that Google will be fined the full $11 billion, anything over $2.8 billion would set a new record.

Complex matter

According to Reuters, Google tried to act quickly against the worst and recently sought a closed-door hearing in a bid to present its case to senior Commission officials and national competition agencies. Reuters quoted one of its secret sources as saying that Google acted after it was told of new details and evidence which the regulator was allegedly planning to use against the company, but that the requested was denied.

Potential impact

The potential impact of such a mammoth punishment is still unknown. Last year’s $2.8 billion penalty neither caused a shock to Google’s finances nor led to any significant changes to the way the search giant was doing business in the Old Continent, but it is actually the core of this judgement to be some kind of headache for Google. Android OS is indeed Google’s crown jewel, representing the Californian company’s most widespread and fastest growing business.

Android is used in more than 80 percent of smartphones on the market right now and – speaking just of the European Union – it powers more than three quarters of all smartphones within the bloc. It is then pretty easy to understand why a direct hit at this part of the company could have more serious connotations for Google’s future growth plans in Europe.

The EC has been investigating Google also in a third antitrust case, where the search giant was accused of blocking rivals in its online AdSense search advertising network. According to Reuters’ sources, the case is likely to drag on to the end of the year or even later.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief

Free flow of non-personal data: Parliament approves EU’s fifth freedom

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

3 ways to fix the way we fund humanitarian relief

Debunked: 5 myths about the future of work

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

The battle for the 2016 EU Budget to shake the Union; Commission and Parliament vs. Germany

Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

The reason the world showed limited empathy to the Orlando victims

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Remembering Kofi Annan

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

How privacy tech is redefining the data economy

Recognize, celebrate and ‘stand in solidarity’ with persons with albinism

The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

The European Sting writes down the history LIVE from G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey

‘No-deal’ Brexit preparedness: European Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Greece did it again

It’s time for global businesses to accept local responsibility

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

CO2 can be a valuable raw material, not just a climate killer. Here’s how

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

‘Once-in-a-generation opportunity’ will be squandered, warns Guterres, unless social, economic, environmental challenges are met

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

Humans aren’t made for repetition – it’s time AI took over manufacturing

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

UN civil society conference to focus on sustainable solutions for challenges of urban life

State aid: Commission approves €431 million public support for cleaner transport in German cities

OECD, UN Environment and World Bank call for a radical shift in financing for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future

Why schools should teach the curriculum of the future, not the past

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

Shanghai has tough new recycling rules – and it will stop collecting trash from communities that don’t comply

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

Is Erdogan losing game and match within and without Turkey?

This tiny new grain could save the planet

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s