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EU Fines Google a Record $5 Billion

European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announces a record $5 billion fines against Google at the EU headquarters in Brussels on July 18, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS)
EU Fines Google a Record $5 Billion
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The European Union has fined Google $5 billion for having too much control of software that goes into mobile phones.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google broke EU rules for market competition.

Google is the maker of the Android mobile operating system for mobile phones and similar devices.

Vestager said Google requires mobile phone producers to install Google Search software in their phones. She said Google made having the search software a condition of letting phone makers link to Google’s app store.

In addition, Vestager said, Google paid big phone producers to only install the Google search app.

Vestager said that “companies must compete on their merits” and must observe rules meant to help consumers and open markets.

Biggest EU fine for anti-competitive methods

Google said it would appeal the ruling. A spokesman for the company Al Verney said, “Android has created more choice for everyone, not less.”

The fine is the biggest the EU has ever given to a company for anti-competitive activities.

Vestager said the size of the fine is reasonable if the company’s income is considered. Google is part of the technology company Alphabet, based in Mountain View, California. Alphabet had income of about $31 billion dollars in the first three months of the year.

The EU fined Google $2.8 billion dollars in June of 2017 over how it its search engine provided shopping lists.

The ruling comes at a time of increased trade tensions between the EU and the U.S. The administration of President Donald Trump has placed import taxes on European steel and aluminum, angering allies. The EU has answered by placing import taxes on American goods.

Some observers say that the EU has targeted U.S. technology companies, including Microsoft and Apple, for breaking competition or tax rules.

European officials deny this.

They noted that Google held a more than 90 percent share of the market in most European countries.

EU officials said Google abused its large market share by preventing phone makers from using different versions of its Android mobile operating system. Google does this although Android is technically open-source software, meaning that it can be freely added to by developers.

Google argues that its main way of making money from Android mobile is by selling apps and content. It says if its business is limited too much, it will no longer be able to provide Android to mobile phone makers for free.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Mario Ritter adapted this Associated Press story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

install –v. to put something such as a device or software in place so it can be used

merits –n. good qualities that deserve praise or use

consumers –n. people who buy and use goods and services

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