Google is facing another tough battle with the European Union (EU) over antitrust allegations. Just a few days ago, Google was slammed with a staggering record €2.14 billion fine over shopping ads in Google’s search. This fine was as a result of a seven-year investigation into allegations that the company used its internet search monopoly unfairly to the detriment of its competitors. Presently, according to Reuters, Google is been subjected to another antitrust investigation in the EU. This time, it has to do with Android licensing and if it is found guilty, the fine will surely surpass the €2.14 billion it got earlier.
The current allegation against Google is in it’s licensing of the Android operating system to manufacturers which the EU believes is anti-competitive in nature. The EU will set up a special panel comprising of experts to dig into Google’s practices in this regard. Allegations about Google abusing the market have been lingering for a very long time and it was investigated in April 2016. The findings of that investigation will form a part of this current investigation.
Google’s terms for licensing Android requires that some Google apps must be loaded in the smartphone which halts manufacturers from producing Android devices without Google’s services. This practice, according to EU regulators is anti-competitive and affects companies. Google argues that it does not stop manufacturers from making smartphones with the open-source build of Android with their own services.
The European Commission would probably reach a final decision on this issue by the end of this year and if Goggle is found guilty, it will likely pay a record fine. It will also be forced to modify its terms of licensing Android so as to be in concordance with the EU’s demands. The EU needs a healthy competition in the mobile space and it is afraid that Google’s current terms are a threat that. The possibility of another heavy fine on Google will not be a surprise considering the recent proceedings.