European Commission: fines Google record € 4.34 billion for abusing market power (Android) | Fieldfisher
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European Commission: fines Google record € 4.34 billion for abusing market power (Android)



The European Commission has fined Google € 4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules (18 July 2018).

According to the findings of the Commission, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search. 

Illegal Behaviour

Google has used Android – according to the Commission - as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. In particular Google

  • has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store);

  • made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and

  • has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks"). 

Market Dominance / Relevant Markets

According to the Commission, Google is market dominant on the markets for

    • general internet search services in all 31 EEA Member States (in most a market share of more than 90%)

    • licensable smart mobile operating systems dominant in the worldwide market (excluding China) with a market share of more than 95%

    • app stores for the Android mobile operating system 

Abusive Behaviour

Google has engaged in three separate types of practices:

    • Illegal tying of Google's search and browser apps

    • Illegal payments conditional on exclusive pre-installation of Google Search (the Commission has considered, amongst other factors, the conditions under which the incentives were granted, their amount, the share of the market covered by these agreements and their duration, reference to Intel judgement)

    • Illegal obstruction of development and distribution of competing Android operating systems

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