Why Google owes the European Union $5 billion

“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.

Google’s Eric Schmidt wore staff badge at Hillary Clinton’s ‘victory’ party – November 16, 2016
WikiLeaks emails show extremely close relationship between Clinton campaign and Google’s Eric Schmidt – November 1, 2016
Eric Schmidt-backed startup stealthily working to put Hillary Clinton in the White House – October 9, 2015
Google’s Eric Schmidt spurns Obama cabinet post offer – December 11, 2012
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Google outfoxes U.S. FCC – April 17, 2012
Google Street View cars grabbed locations of cellphones, computers – July 26, 2011
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: If you don’t like being in Google Street View then ‘just move’ – October 28, 2010
Consumer Watchdog ads mock Google CEO Eric Schmidt (with video) – September 2, 2010
Google CEO Schmidt: Change your name to escape ‘cyber past’ – August 18, 2010
Wired: Google, CIA Invest in ‘future’ of Web monitoring – July 29, 2010
37 states join probe into Google’s questionable Wi-Fi data collection – July 22, 2010
Google Street View Wi-Fi data included passwords and email – June 18, 2010


  1. It is a significant monetary penalty but this may end up actually benefiting Amazon if it leads to allowing users access to Google Play. It may also benefit Google by legally freeing them from long term contracts of future payments out to external companies for Google Search, in exchange for allowing other search Apps to be pre-installed on OEM devices.

  2. MDN take is so full of BS.

    The actual article explains that Google’s business practices forced Android device makers to use only Google search, or if the handset maker chose to write their own apps, Google would deny access the the Google Play store. This is obviously an abuse of power. If Apple forced users to only use Google Search, would MDN be cheering? Didn’t think so. The only reason Apple gets away with having a walled garden is because it has enough competition within the garden that the users have choice.

    MDN’s obvious hatred for Europe is noted. It seems to have missed the memo that the UNITED States of America is also a Union, with most power therein held by states and citizens. Like the EU, the USA needs a federal regulator to manage interstate dealings and keep the open market fair and open. The 508 million people in the EU very much like having high standards that hold companies accountable for their business practices. It is beyond stupid for the citizens of the USA to elect corporate puppets and idiots to manage their federal affairs, letting multinational corporations do whatever they want to do. ‘Cause access to cheap consumer junk is freedom, right?

    1. Now that you mention Apple, I recall something about all browsers on iOS (Safari and 3rd parties) having to use the same iOS WebKit libraries effectively making any 3rd party browser a ‘skin’ on a large portion of Safari. Has that changed?

    2. Learn how to read and comprehend English.

      MDN is not hating on the EU here. They are saying the EU arrived at the right conclusion unlike the US, where the politicians were bought and paid for by Google (See Eric Schmidt trying to elect Democrat Party puppets from Crooked Hillary on down.)

      1. I know English as well or better than you. Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, too.

        “because the EU obviously wasn’t paid off enough to look the other way”

        is the typical bullshit you and MDN pass as “objective” analysis. MDN only lightened up their intense hatred of the EU so they could concentrate their dig at Google. I didn’t arrive yesterday, buddy.

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