According to the new charge sheet sent to Google by the European Commission, the search engine would be tying its Android to Internet search in contracts with smartphone manufacturers and telecom operators.
The charge sheet includes a series of six presumable abuses of EU Competition Law. In particular, the alleged abuses relate to: (i) the pre-installation of Google applications, (ii) the provision of financial incentives and (iii) the hindrance to smartphone manufacturers to develop Android beyond Google´s instructions. While being abuses on their own, the Commission has grouped them up as part of a broad strategy aimed at maintaining its position in the search market.
This charge sheet follows the Statement of Objections sent to Google and its parent company, Alphabet, in April 2016. The Statement refers to the fact that Google may be licensing Google Play to smartphone manufacturers and telecom operators on condition that they install its search engine as default program in their products.
Google will be required to change its conduct and will most likely be imposed a fine, which will be calculated on the basis of Android sales in the EEA. The alleged infringement has reportedly lasted for five years and three months. The length of the infringement will have an impact on the amount of the fine.