Google has been fined a record $5 billion by the EU

Margrethe Vestager Sundar Pichai EU Google [USAGE FOR ANDROID FINE ONLY]BI GraphicsMargrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.BI Graphics

  • Google has been fined a record $5 billion by the European competition watchdog for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system Android.
  • Google is accused of forcing smartphone makers like Samsung and Huawei to preinstall its own services, such as Google Search and Google Maps, on Android.
  • The timing couldn't be worse for Google given the growing global appetite to break up big tech - and the company may be forced to unbundle Android from its search business.


Google has been fined a record €4.3 billion ($5 billion, £3.8 billion) by Europe's competition watchdog for abusing its dominant Android mobile operating system to cement the popularity of Google apps and services.

It's the biggest antitrust fine ever given by Europe's competition regulator against a single firm, and cements competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager's reputation as Silicon Valley's policewoman.

The European Commission found Google had used Android, the most popular mobile software globally, to reinforce its own dominance in search.

google android figure employeeMark Blinch/ReutersAndroid is the most popular mobile operating software in the world.Mark Blinch/Reuters

Google has previously argued that Android has helped create rather than hinder choice. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is the third major investigation into Google by Europe's competition watchdog, and it has lasted more than three years. The firm was hit with a €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion/$2.7 billion) fine last year for promoting its own shopping service in search. Google is appealing the fine. And there is a third investigation underway over whether Google's AdSense technology protects its dominant position in online advertising.

It's also the latest in a long line of penalties and probes into Silicon Valley firms by Margrethe Vestager, who has imposd the record fines against Google, a fine against Facebook over its WhatsApp acquisition, and an investigation into Apple over its purchase of music app Shazam.

This is a developing story... 

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