The European Union (EU) has slammed a huge fine of 4.34 billion Euro ($5 billion) on Google for the illegal abuse of its Android operating system for mobile devices.
Google was accused accused in Brussels on Wednesday for using its Android operating system near dominance on smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own search engine, shutting out competition.
This decision was as a result of a three year investigation by the EU and this comes at a time of transatlantic trade war with President Donald Trump threatening to impose tariffs on European steel and Aluminum imports.
“Google has engaged in illegal practices to cement its dominant market position in internet search,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said while announcing the huge fine.
The new penalty is almost double the previous record EU antitrust fine of 2.4 billion Euros which was also against Google for its shopping comparison service in 2017.
Google was ordered by Vestager to “put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.
This decision comes just a week before European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker’s meeting in United States with President Donald Trump on tariffs dispute and other issues.
Vestager has been dubbed by Trump as the “tax lady” who hates the “US” after she investigated some silicon valley giants but she has insisted that she was not anti-American.
“I very much like the US… but the fact is that this (case) has nothing to do with how I feel,” she said.
However, Google chief has stated the firm’s resolve to appeal the decision by EU.
“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 in a blog post.
Google’s Android operating system is provided free to smartphone manufacturers and it in return generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with result form searches.
According to the EU, Android is so dominant that it is used on around 80 percent of mobile devices in Europe and worldwide.