“After the better part of three years’ investigation, the European Union has announced that it will fine Google €4.34 billion ($5 billion),” Daniel Cooper writes for Engadget. “The company was found to have restricted competition through the use of its dominance in the mobile market. Officials believe that Google’s business practices, including using Google Play rules to block manufacturers forking Android, is an abuse of its power. The Commission also believes that financial incentives were used to ensure that they “exclusively pre-install Google search on their devices.” The fine is the largest in European Union history, dwarfing the €2.4 billion penalty handed out to Google in 2017.”

“The EU believes that Google has abused its dominant power in ways that are designed to crowd out other businesses. Officials say that since 2011, the company has ‘imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.’ These restrictions have ensured that Google has been able to ‘cement its dominant position in general internet search,'” Cooper writes. “Officials say that the search engine has “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators.” The payments are allegedly intended to ensure that carriers only installed Google Search on their devices”

“The other part of the charge relates to how Google ships versions of Android to the manufacturers who put it on their devices. There are, you see, two different flavors of Android, ‘Android GMS (Google Mobile Services),’ and ‘Android AOSP (Android Open Source Project),'” Cooper writes. “The EU feels that by withholding Google Play on the condition of using GMS, it has essentially ensured that the majority of Android handsets have Google’s blessing… Officials can even cite an example: Amazon’s Fire tablets run an AOSP fork called Fire OS which lacks access to Google Play. Instead, you have to use Amazon’s own app store and services with the platform, which runs on Amazon devices. But apparently, there was interest from other manufacturers who may have wanted to use Fire OS on their own hardware, but were prevented from doing so by Google’s licensing deals.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In a nutshell:

Google knocked off Apple’s iOS (née iPhone OS). Google willingly let the genie out of the bottle by giving it away for free. Handset makers, standing slack-jawed on the tracks as Apple’s iPhone locomotive approached, lept for Google’s handout of salvation. Now, Google wants to stuff the genie back in their bottle so they can reap the spoils of their theft. The EU isn’t allowing it, because the EU obviously wasn’t paid off enough to look the other way – unlike U.S. politicians who were paid off in services, data, campaign assistance, contributions, and God only knows what else to let Google run unfettered for many years and counting.

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