Reasons for the verdict
After the decision was made public, the Commissioner tweeted that the fine was due to 3 types of illegal restrictions on the use of Android as the reason behind the extensive fine. Vestager further said Google brought the fine upon themselves by breaking EU antitrust rules that denied rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits.
Outcome of the verdict
The EU has commanded Google to adhere to its judgment within 90 days and separate search and Chrome from its Android offering. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in his response via an official blog post, spoke about his opinion on how Android has created more choices in the mobile ecosystem and that his company plans to appeal the European regulator’s judgment.
A significant portion of the technology community feels Google’s recent record 5 billion anti-trust fine was a long time coming. FairSearch, a group of businesses, is considered to be the initial trigger in the EU’s interest in a potential antitrust case against Android way back in 2013. The group came out with a statement saying this win for antitrust laws will foster competition. They further said that this decision must apply to Smart TVs as well as smartphones.
This recent verdict concludes a three year long investigation by the authorities into Android. However, this is only one part of almost a decade old battle between Brussels and the tech giant.
Comments from Farrhad Acidwalla, who started off as one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs and is the founder of CYBERNETIV, a cyber security and research firm focusing on enterprise security:
Android is the dominant mobile operating system globally. World over, most consumers would agree that there may never be an operating system that can beat Android in market share in the smartphone space. Thus making it critical that regulators keep things in check.
The commission said statistics showed users were more likely to adopt default settings and stick with pre-installed applications that come with the operating system and this creates a disadvantage for competing applications.
While in theory, this long-time-coming judgment should work in favor of consumers and innovation by potentially leveling the playing field. There is concern from analysts that the complexity of this Android ecosystem which has been hit by this massive fine could result in less European innovation and higher prices for consumers.
Google intends to appeal the decision that will let Android phone makers get increased revenue when they pre-install Google’s applications on their phones. While the severity of the fine may be reduced it is unlikely that the judgment by Brussels will be reversed. This was a long time coming and it is a great step for antitrust laws world over bringing notable attention to the market domination enjoyed by select technology companies.
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