Google shares are lower Wednesday, after the European Union Commission hit the tech giant with a €4.34 billion fine for practices regarding its Android operating system. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, however, has said that Google’s Android system has generated more choice for users, not less
By 1630 BST, Google shares were 0.19% lower at $1,210.76. The stock has been moving generally higher in recent weeks.
EU fines Google after three-year investigation
The EU first began investigating Google’s Android practices in 2015. The ruling found that Google has acted illegally by ensuring tablet and smartphone manufacturers pre-installed the Google Search app and its Chrome web browser, in order to allow them access to its Play app store.
It also found that Google made large payments to some manufacturers and network operators, so they would exclusively pre-install the Google search app.
“Today, the Commission has decided to fine Google 4.34 billion euros for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google has engaged in illegal practices to cement its dominant market position in internet search. It must put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments,” the EU said in a statement.
“Our decision requires Google to change the way it operates and face the consequences of its actions,” the EU added.
Google set to appeal the fine
Responding to the decision, Google’s CEO Pichai, blogged that Android had worked to give users more choice, not less.
“Today, the European Commission issued a competition decision against Android, and its business model,” Pichai wrote. “The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission’s own market survey confirmed.”
He said that thanks to the Android operating system, a variety of different brands and manufacturers can create any type of phone they wish and still run a version of Android and give users access to the same apps they enjoy on different smartphone and tablet models.
“Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal,” Pichai said.