The European Court of Justice has found Google $4.18 billion for forcing Android makers to install Google products on their devices.
By Joshua Jones | Published
According to Deadline, a fine of roughly $4.18 billion has been imposed by the European Court of Justice on Google. The report noted that the court decided that the major tech company imposed “unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices” and operators when it came to “consolidating” the position of its search engine. The fine reportedly is less than what was recommended by the Commission and European Court of Justice.
During the initial 2018 case, the Commission accused Google of illegally forcing handset makers to install their search engine application and the Chrome browser. The condition supposedly was for licensing its Play Store. They previously made payments to large manufacturing companies and operators on the condition that they agreed to exclusively pre-install their application and prevented the manufacturers from pre-installing previous versions of Android.
Google, however, argued that the payments and agreements kept Android a free operating system. The company criticized EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who reportedly led the case against other tech giants. Google owner Alphabet already lost a challenge of the billion-dollar fine last year.
The billion-dollar fine for Google comes as many of its services are seeing a significant turnaround. Deadline reported in July that the YouTube TV service passed 5 million subscribers after launching five years ago. As noted in the report, the number makes YouTube TV the fifth-largest TV distributor in the US
Google also recently altered its approach when it comes to TV and streaming. Two years ago, they decided to merge Chromecast and Android TV into one $50 brand offer. Chromecast, with Google TV, is compatible with more than 6,500 apps in the Android TV’s operating system.
Whether or not this billion dollar fine damages Google remains to be seen. The company has been at the center of controversy for years, most notably with its YouTube service. Many top creators on YouTube have criticized the company for its lack of communication and for playing favorites.
Google also has been accused of muscling rivals and failing to combat fake news. In 2018, the Commission found that the company’s measures on political advertising weren’t specific enough. Google didn’t clarify whether any action was being taken to combat fake news.
Regarding their relationship with other countries, Google has been accused of also censoring China. The Intercept reported in 2018 that Google planned to launch a censored search engine. The application reportedly allowed for “blacklisting of sensitive queries” and terms related to human rights, democracy, religion, and more.
According to The Intercept, documents they obtained revealed that Google’s Chinese search application “automatically identified and filtered out” websites blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. Google’s initial search engine for China launched in 2006 but was pulled from the mainland in 2010. The Intercept reported that the company suspended the development of another search engine for the country after complaints from the company’s own privacy team.
Only time will tell whether Google’s reported strong-arm tactics would continue to plague the company’s public image. As of now, the company has a lot of explaining to do.