Google has been hit by a record-breaking $5 billion antitrust fine by the European Union regulators for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system and thwarting competitors.
That’s the largest ever antitrust penalty.
Though Android is an open-source and free operating system, device manufacturers still have to obtain a license, with certain conditions, from Google to integrate its Play Store service within their smartphones.
The European Commission levied the fine Wednesday, saying that Google has broken the law by forcing Android smartphone manufacturers to pre-install its own mobile apps and services, like Google Search, Chrome, YouTube, and Gmail, as a condition for licensing.
The European Union also hit Google with a separate antitrust penalty of $2.7 billion (€2.4 billion) last year over shopping-search results in Google Search, making a total of $7.85 billion (~ €6.7 billion) fine.
Google is appealing that fine and is expected to appeal the new one too, as the tech giant has repeatedly denied these accusations, arguing that smartphone manufacturers have the option to use the open-source software.
Besides Google, the European Commission also levied an antitrust fine of $1.43 million on Facebook last year, $1.4 billion on Intel in 2009, and $899 million on Microsoft in 2008.