While Apple continues to hold the majority market share when it comes to Australian mobile devices, Google’s Android is very much in the most pockets around the world, with an over 85% market share according to IDC.
The European Commission alleges, in their US$5.05 billion fine to Google’s parent company Alphabet, that this large market share is being illegally used to force the company’s products upon users. Specifically, this case is looking at the requirement for all device makers to pre-install Google’s search app and Chrome internet browser.
Despite the open nature of the Android operating system, the Commission alleges Google is being overtly controlling with regards to how network operators and device manufacturers implement the system, even going as far as to make payments to these parties to ensure specific apps are pre-loaded.
These practices are being viewed by the European Commission as “Denying European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.”
This isn’t the first case where Google have been fined for antitrust violations by the Commission, with a $3.6 billion fine being placed last year for the company’s actions around how it pushed its own price comparison service to the top of search results when querying for product prices.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has refuted the antitrust allegations, claiming that device makers are free to use Android as they please, shown by Amazon’s implementation of the framework in its products.
Google have also announced they will be appealing the fine.
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