The European Commission fines Google EUR4.34 billion for abuse of dominance

The European Commission has found that Google has been imposing illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to consolidate its dominant position in general internet search since 2011.

In particular, the Commission has concluded that Google abused its Android market dominance in three key areas:

Google has been bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating systems used in Android phones and has set Google as the default search engine. It has also ensured that Google’s search app and its mobile browser are pre-installed on practically all Android devices sold in the European Economic Area (“EEA”).

The Commission has highlighted that pre-installation usually creates a status quo bias as users tend to use the pre-installed search and browser apps that they nd in their devices. According to the Commission, this conduct has reduced the incentives of manufacturers to pre-install competing search and browser apps while deterring users from downloading such apps.

Google has given nancial incentives to large phone manufacturers and mobile network operators to exclusively bundle the Google search app to their devices.

When assessing these incentives, the Commission has referred to the Intel judgment (C-413/14 P) to indicate that it has taken into account, amongst others, the conditions under which the incentives were granted, their duration, their amount and the share of the market covered by them.

Google has prevented phone manufacturers from creating or selling smart mobile devices running on alternative versions of Android that were not previously approved by Google. In particular, the Commission has found evidence that Google’s conduct has precluded several manufacturers from developing and selling devices based on Amazon’s “Fire OS”.

Google has 90 days to put an end over its illegal conduct in an e ective manner. The decision also requires Google to refrain from any measure that has the same or an equivalent object or e ect as these practices.

According to the Commission, the ne of EUR 4,342,865,000 takes into account the duration and gravity of the infringement and has been calculated following the Commission’s 2006 Guidelines. This ne establishes a new record and it nearly doubles the previous record ne, i e , EUR 2.4 billion imposed on Google last year. It is interesting to note that this gure only represents two weeks of revenue for Google’s parent Alphabet Inc.

Related : Gomez-Acebo & Pombo ( Mr. Miguel Troncoso-Ferrer )


Mr. Miguel Troncoso-Ferrer Mr. Miguel Troncoso-Ferrer

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