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April 20, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:04am

EU declares war on Google, formal charges made against abuse of Android market dominance

News: Company could be fined up to £5.8bn.

By

Google has today been been charged by the EU for "abusive dominance" of the European smartphone market with its Android OS.

One year after investigations by the European Commission (EC) started on Google’s market approach, EU’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, said the company’s "behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players".

She said: "What we found is that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in internet search.

"Rival search engines and mobile operating systems have not been able to compete on their merits. This is not good."

The EC said Google has breached EU regulations by requiring that device manufacturers pre-install the OS preventing them from selling their products with other OSs.

The company has also been accused of giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices.

Google has now 12 weeks to formally reply to the accusations. If the company fails to answer to the Brussels’ antitrust charges, it could be fined up to £5.8bn.

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Google was quick to hit back at the accusation via a post on its European blog written by Kent Walker, SVP and general counsel.

He said: "The European Commission has been investigating our approach, and today issued a Statement of Objections, raising questions about its impact on competition.

"We take these concerns seriously, but we also believe that our business model keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices."

He also defended the company’s OS saying that "Android has helped foster a remarkable and, importantly, sustainable ecosystem, based on open-source software and open innovation".

Walker said that Google is looking forward to working with the European Commission to showcase that the OS was "good for the competition and consumers".

In 2015, Google’s Android dominated the global smartphone market with a share of 82.8%, according to IDC. In terms of general internet search services, the company holds 90% of the market, according to the EC.

 

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