EU hits Google with record €4.34 billion fine for abusing market dominance

“Google has been hit with a record €4.34bn (£3.8bn) fine by the European Union for abusing its market dominance in mobile phone operating systems,” Jennifer Rankin reports for The Guardian. “The EU imposed the multibillion-euro penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-instal Google’s search and browser apps devices using its Android operating system, otherwise they would not be allowed to use its Google Play online store and streaming service.”

“Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said Google has used its Android mobile phone operating system ‘to cement its dominance as a search engine,’ preventing rivals from innovating and competing ‘and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules,'” Rankin reports. “Vestager added: ‘The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps. Or to slightly paraphrase what [US free market economist] Milton Friedman has said ‘there ain’t no such thing as a free search.””

“The decision could raise tensions with the US government before a visit to the White House by the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, next week,” Rankin reports. “Juncker will meet the US president, Donald Trump, on 25 July for talks on the economy, counter-terrorism, energy security, foreign policy and security.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday:

Regardless of the amount of fine, it’ll be too little, too late. To actually restore competition in search and online advertising, Google would need to be broken up.

Moment of truth for Google as record EU antitrust fine looms – July 16, 2018


  1. this is great news, Google deserves the kick in the back side. Hurt google where in matters the most, their wallet. I suppose websites will be affected by this as many rely on Google ads for revenue source 🙁

  2. “to cement its dominance as a search engine”, preventing rivals from innovating and competing “and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules”. – Margrethe Vestager

    “The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps.” -Margrethe Vestager

    Google has used its Android mobile phone operating system “to cement its dominance as a search engine”, preventing rivals from innovating and competing “and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules”. -Margrethe Vestager

    “‘there ain’t no such thing as a free search.’” – Milton Friedman

    I agree with all those comments, and I’m happy that the EU, at least, does do things to protect the consumer. There are other’s who are even more brazen…

    1. And you missed the key point. Google uses Android to force manufacturers to favor its search engine. Please make the analogous comparison to these so-called “other’s” (sic).

      1. Why KenC, I’m glad you asked!

        Who forbids an alternate App Store?

        Who forces developers to favor their rules, over what the developer intends?

        Who forces developers to sell through their single storefront? An iOS app cannot run on anything else.

        Who forces customers to do continued exclusive business for applications?

        None of this would be an issue, if competition for App Stores wasn’t forbidden.

        Forbidding is even worse than favoring, which is bad enough.

        1. It is delightful to watch you make a fool of yourself. You don’t even realize how ridiculous your argument is. Please do carry on confirming that you are a fool.

            1. “There is no arguing the fact that Apple has a monopoly in iOS App Stores. No way to dispute it.”

              In all your pretending to be intelligent you have missed an important aspect of the case which is to define the relevant market. If we narrow the definition of monopoly then many other companies would be considered monopolies. Game console makers, restaurant chains, auto companies, and many more. It becomes ridiculous. Do you have any friends that are lawyers? You could ask them about this and learn something. Who am I kidding? You won’t learn anything. You’ll just keep on pretending you are right about everything.

            2. So finally you come to some discussion points… albeit poor ones.

              I’m glad you put your iOS devices in the same class as game consoles, which are vertical applications anyway. And where can I buy games for game console…? Hmmmm…? Anywhere!


            3. “And where can I buy games for game console…? Hmmmm…? Anywhere!”

              No. You can buy games through licensed channels only and use those games only on the approved console. Games can only be sold after they are additionally approved and licensed by the console maker. You can buy iPhones lots of different places too.

              You think you’re making some kind of great point. You’re not. You are only showing how foolish your argument is yet again.

              You can only buy a Whopper at Burger King. You can only get Amazon Prime from Amazon. You are completely misunderstanding what “relevant market” means.

              It is not likely that the iOS App Store will be considered a monopoly when the dust settles. If it is considered a monopoly it will have far reaching implications for all US businesses. Narrowing what is considered a monopoly to this degree is unlikely to happen in this case. It is a foolish argument to make. If you could turn off your hatred of Apple even for a second you might realize this.

            4. “You’re just digging your hole deeper and deeper”

              Now you’re just making desperate statements. Glad to see you finally know the difference between your and you’re.

              “Yes, I can only get a Whopper at Burger King. No one else makes the Whopper. Did Apple code all those millions of Apps?”

              Doesn’t matter. The details of what we would consider monopolies if using your narrow viewpoint will all be different in many ways. Those differences don’t prove anything. You seem to think they do. Sorry. They don’t.

              There are similarities between Burger King and the App Store though. Burger King provides the systems which enable the creation of Whoppers and other food specific to Burger King. Apple provides the systems which enable the creation of millions of different apps. Apple is less abusive and controlling than Burger King in this regard since Apple allows a wider freedom in what can be created. Burger King is locked down to a very small menu of what can be created.

              I could also argue that the Whopper is equivalent to the iOS app. Within the framework of either you can customize so what you end up with is millions of different Whoppers and millions of different iOS apps.

              However, your point is nonsense once again. All that matters is what is considered the relevant market and in this case it is mobile apps as a whole that is the relevant market. Disagree all you want with Apple’s business practices but there is no monopoly here.

              This really is great. Let’s keep going Pretend Lawyer aka applecynic.

            5. N?ow you’ve offended me. I’m no kind of lawyer.

              It does amaze me though… all those words, and not a shred of logic.

              All those Whoppers are not Whoppers. They are hamburgers. The Whopper is the propert of Burger King. This is why BK doesn’t sell third party burgers….

            6. “I’m no kind of lawyer.”

              That’s the understatement of the year given how poorly you understand what’s happening with this case. You still think your point about Whoppers matters. It doesn’t.

            1. No. I’m stating a fact. The argument applecynic is making is very foolish and he makes himself look like a fool when he continues to make the argument. The lower court and Department of Justice have already ruled on Apple’s side on this. If applecynic is not making a foolish argument then I look forward to an even larger fine being levied against Apple because as applecynic argues what Apple is doing is “even worse”.

              Most commenters on MDN are sick and tired of applecynic pretending to be an expert on every single issue. It is refreshing to watch him pretend to be so smart but instead make a fool of himself.

            2. @This is great

              There is no arguing the fact that Apple has a monopoly in iOS App Stores. No way to dispute it. Even the most ardent Apple supporters instead support “Apple’s right to a monopoly”.

              So then… you must then be looking forward to Apple getting an even bigger fine levied against them…

              Also, what makes you think you speak for most MDN commenters? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but knowledge of that statement as fact you do not have.

              I’m flattered (a little) that you even state that I pretend (at least) to be smart. I don’t have to be smart in this debate, just smarter than you. Meaning, I can stay home, send my dog in my place, and you would still lose.

        2. I love all these ‘who forbids developers’ and ‘who forces customers’ in your post. I own Apple products that use non-Apple peripheries – Epson scanner, Kensington mouse, Logitech keyboard, Samsung (UGH!) monitor, etc. I run all kinds of software NOT made by Apple. Just not on my iPhone. If that bothers me I can still use my Apple products and just buy a smart phone from dozens of other manufacturers and access whatever software is available for them. I don’t loose sleep over it. Looks like you do. Sorry ’bout that.

  3. the fine is large and painful, however i wish it was even larger amount and that Google was forced into a breakup. Still better than nothing. Off course Google will appeal, meaning good income for lawyers on both sides 😡

  4. What’s really tough is the further directive from Vestager. who says that Google must “bring its illegal conduct to an end” within 90 days, or face additional fines from the E.U.

    That’s pretty wild saying that to a company from a nation that considers themselves to be above the law. I mean who really believes a company from Apple’s home nation is really going to stop abusing others. Next they will be asking them to be peaceful.

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