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EU aims to end anti-competitive Android practices with Google ultimatum

A new document has revealed that EU antitrust regulators are planning to prevent Google from offering financial incentives to smartphone makers that pre-install Google Search on their devices.

Though Google received a copy of the 150 page document in April, it was just sent out to complainants last week. In the document, the European Commission has accused the company of using its Android mobile operating system to make it more difficult for rival companies to compete.

In its statement of objections, the EU enforcer has made it clear that it plans to inform Google to put a stop to all payments or discounts that it pays out to phone manufacturers for pre-installing the Google Play Store or Google Search. The regulators also want to end the company's practice of forcing smartphone makers to ship their phones with its proprietary apps if it conflicts with their ability to use other operating systems based on Android. According to the document, Google “cannot punish or threaten” companies that do not comply with its conditions in the EU.

The company could also likely face a large fine from the European Commission as a result of its anti-competitive practices which began in 2011 and are still ongoing. The document noted that “the Commission intends to set the fine at a level which will be sufficient to ensure deterrence.”   

Google's penalty in the EU could be based on a combination of revenue generated from AdWords clicks, Google Search product queries, app purchases from the Play Store and in-app advertisements from AdMob.

In response to the release of the document and the Commission's ongoing investigation, Google defended the way Android operates, saying: “We look forward to showing the European Commission that we've designed the Android model in a way that's good for both competition and consumers, and supports innovation across the region.” 

Image Credit: Denis Linine / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.