Google has been fined $ 5 billion by the EU this week for Android antitrust violations. The European Commission claims that Google uses Android to enforce its own services – Google Search, Chrome and Play – on consumers and device manufacturers.
It's a confusing case, so I took a few minutes to try to break things and answer some of the bigger questions about what happened. It may evoke memories of Microsoft's ugly antitrust fight with the US government, but there are some differences between the two. This is about Google and the EU:
1. What exactly did Google do wrong here?
In short, the European Commission has ruled that Google unjustifiably uses Android (which owns and develops Google) to turn Google Search (which accounts for a large part of Google's business) for users, making them an unfair and outdated user non-competitive advantage.
Specifically, three things are mentioned:
- Google requires device manufacturers to include Search and Chrome to gain access to the Play Store and other Google apps and services.
- Google "has made payments to certain major manufacturers and mobile network operators" to bundle the Google search app exclusively for other search engines on mobile phones.
- Google has allegedly prevented phone manufacturers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android. In other words, to get all Google apps ̵
2. Why does not that apply to Apple?
The European Commission's report states that Android is unlike, for example, Apple's most deadly BlackBerry operating system because it is an exclusive, vertically integrated operating system. No license from third-party manufacturers. In essence, Apple can not be held responsible if it limits itself to using its own apps on its own operating system.
Because Google makes Android available to others and (according to the Commission) uses these businesses and their devices to further increase their market dominance and revenue with Google Search mobile advertising, it's on the rise.
. 3 Can not install anything on Android? Why is the play store so important?
Strictly speaking, yes – that's why Amazon Fire tablets and Fire TV sets come with Android, even though they contain neither the Play Store nor any of Google's apps.
According to the commission, the Play Store is too important for Android devices: more than 90 percent of the apps downloaded on Android devices are a must-have App (especially since it can not legally be installed on Android devices if it is not already included).
The Commission's concern is that Google is using the Play Store as an incentive to force manufacturers to use Google Search and Chrome without Google being able to offer just one store, giving Google an unfair advantage in search would.
In other words, device manufacturers need the Play Store to be competitive. Google only relays the Play Store to companies that also agree to install Search (and Chrome), which makes it difficult for other search engines to compete.
. 4 If Search is the problem, why is Chrome included?
At first glance, the EU's decision to force Google Chrome on users seems unfair. What has the dominance of Google in the search with a web browser to do? However, Chrome is an integral part of Google Search. Therefore, Chrome is also included in the decision.
. 5 What do other companies think?
For the most part, nothing. The Verge reached various Android OEMs, including Samsung, LG, OnePlus, Nokia, BlackBerry and Amazon, but only owned by Motorola, Sony and HTC, all of which left no comment The news, with HTC add that it will impact Google on decisions that will affect the broader Android operating system. "
6. What happens next?
Google has 90 days to comply with the European Commission, which would mean the penalty in $ 5 billion to pay and encourage manufacturers to pre-finance Chrome and Google Search to offer the Google Play Store and prevent phone manufacturers from using forked versions of Android, and Google is already appealing for the result, so we will see if that actually happens, but if that's the case, it could mean drastic changes for the future functioning of Android.