Google's €4.3bn EU penalty is a new record for anti-trust fines

Brussels has handed Google a record fine of €4.34bn for abusing the dominant market position of its Android operating system, used in more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google went against EU rules when it required mobile phone producers to pre-install the Google Search and browser apps as a condition for licensing Google's app store.

She said Google also paid big producers to exclusively pre-install the Google Search app.

Vestager said that "companies must compete on their merits," playing by antitrust rules that favor consumers and open markets, and not restrict competition.

Google said it would appeal. "Android has created more choice for everyone, not less," said company spokesman Al Verney.

The EU's fine is the biggest ever imposed on a company for anticompetitive behavior.

In June last year, regulators already fined Google €2.42bn for favoring its shopping listings in search results.

The ruling comes at a sensitive time for trans-Atlantic relations, with U.S. President Donald Trump lambasting the EU as a "foe" only last week. The U.S. has imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum this year and the EU has responded with tariffs on American goods. The U.S. is now also considering taxes on imports of European cars.

- Digital Desk & Graphic News

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