Google Fine Shows EU ‘Serious about Anti-trust Laws’ unlike US, Senator Says
US Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has defended the USD 5 billion (EUR 4.3 billion) anti-trust fine the EU has slapped on Google for using the Android operating system as an unfair competition tool.
Warren’s position defies that of US President Donald Trump who, against the backdrop of his constant complaints about the EU on various counts, has seen the fine imposed on Google’s mother company Alphabet Inc. as an anti-American measure.
“That shows that Europe is going after American companies,” Trump has commented, as he has also threatened to up the US tariffs on the imports of EU-made cars, a measure that many fear could escalate into an all-out intra-West trade war.
According to Senator Warren, however, the EU fine on Google demonstrates that Europe is doing a better job than the United States in protecting competition through anti-trust measures.
“They made their case, and they make a pretty strong case,” the US Senator said with respect to the European Commission, the EU executive, which imposed the fine.
“What it shows is that Europe is serious about antitrust laws, Europe is serious about anti-competition laws, and the United States is lagging,” Warren elaborated.
“We were once the leaders in the world on this, and no more,” she said in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.
According to the European Commission, since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators “to cement its dominant position in general Internet search.”
The Commission now requires that Google terminate the respective practices within 90 days, or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
The Commission points out that Google has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store).
It has made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices.
And it has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”).
(Banner image: TV grab from CNBC)