The Washington Post magazine said Google may face disciplinary fines from European regulators as it compelled to deploy search and web browsing tools on its own and other OEM device manufacturers' Android smartphones. Under pressure, this could lead to the most significant change in the mobile operating system with the highest market share in the world. Margrethe Vestager, a person familiar with the matter, said the estimated amount of fines was billions of dollars.
(distribution from: Google)
She pointed out that this is the second time in many years that the anti-monopoly organization in the region has found that Google has threatened its competitors and consumers.
The core of the controversy is that Google has forced Android device manufacturers (mobile phones / tablet computers) to pre install their home applications.
Equipment manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung face anti-competitive choices in the EU
Without the portal, users of Android smartphones / tablet computers will not be able to easily download games / other applications provided by third parties, including services provided by Google competitors.
Vestager believes that these arrangements are designed to ensure that Google's household registration system maintains the dominance of the Internet ecosystem.
The ruling is likely to prohibit Google from reaching a similar application installation agreement with equipment manufacturers. In addition, the EU may force the company to provide consumers with a more relaxed way to switch services such as search engines on mobile phones or tablet computers.
Vestager spokesman and Google declined to comment on this matter. However, a Google spokesman pointed out that when the European Union announced its investigation in 2016, the company's general counsel has commented:
Android has brought about a new generation of innovation and cross platform competition. In any case, it is the most open, flexible, and most diverse in mobile computing platform.
For Google, the consequences of sanctions are enormous. After all, search and other packaging tools provide the company with a way to capture user data and display more advertisements to them.
The way to eliminate profits and insight may lead Google to reconsider the entire Android ecosystem, authorize equipment manufacturers free of charge to ensure that they are widely used, while avoiding rivals such as apples.
Jakob Kucharczyk, vice president of EU regulatory policy, representing Google's computer and communications industry association, said:
No one will force you to use Google applications, but if you need some of them and have to be fully accepted, it will ensure that Google provides open source funding from the start.
The European Union's punishments and surveys are in sharp contrast to the United States. In 2013, US federal regulators conducted a more limited investigation of Google instead of requiring the company to make major changes.
Vestager and its European Union colleagues have also recently imposed disciplinary measures such as fines for apple and Facebook on suspicion of tax evasion and scope privacy commitments.
However, Apple was not censorship for its mobile phone pre installed app, partly because it made its own device. In contrast, Google's own Pixel phones account for a small share of the Android market.
Luther Lowe, senior vice president of public policy at Yelp, who lobbied the government for strong antitrust oversight of Google, said:
If the EU begins to knock on Android, American antitrust agencies (including the FTC, FTC) may also be under political pressure to ignite a survey of Google.
Google insists that the company will ensure that Android is an open source operating system, and that even if users change their devices, they can provide them with a consistent experience. But Vestager said in 2016 that this hampered consumers' search for potentially better alternatives.