European Commission fines Google $5.1bn for privacy violations

The European Commission [official website] fined Google €4.34 billion (USD $5.1 billion) on Wednesday for violating EU antitrust regulations.

In a press release [text], the Commission alleged that Google illegally required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install the Google search engine and Google Chrome as a requirement to license Google’s app store, Google Play, as well as illegally paid smartphone manufacturers to exclusively pre-install the Google Search Engine.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager was quoted in the press release:

Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.

The commission said Google’s conduct violates Article 54 of the European Economic Area Agreement and Article 102 [texts] of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

This is not the first time that Google has been fined for antitrust violations. In February Google was fined $21 million for abuse of its dominant position by the Competition Commission of India [official website]. The European Commission also fined [Lawsiteblog report] Google €2.42 billion in June 2017 for similar anti-competitive behavior.

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