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EU Slams Google $5.1 Billion Fine in Android Antitrust Ruling

EU Slams Google $5.1 Billion Fine in Android Antitrust Ruling.

The European Union has fined Google for $5.1 billion, saying the online giant had been abusing its power in the smartphone market.

It was the latest move by European antitrust officials to reduce the market influence of U.S. technology powerhouses. The penalty of 4.34 billion euros was a record for the EU, exceeding the 2.4 billion euros, or about $2.8 billion, that it had hit Google with last year when it decided the company had been unfairly favoring its own services in online search results.

Officials of the EU’s European Commission, which is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the Union, said Google, which makes the Android mobile operating system used in smartphones, broke antitrust laws by reaching deals with phone manufacturers, such as HTC, Huawei and Samsung, that favored such Google services as its search bar and Chrome browser.

“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

The EU gave Google 90 days to end its practices, or face penalties of up to 5 percent of the worldwide average daily revenue of parent company Alphabet.

Google said it would appeal the decision and fine. “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” it said. “A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition.”

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