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But Brussels has had United States tech giants in its sights for a decade in a half, since it imposed a huge 497 million euro fine on Microsoft in 2004 for anti-competitive behaviour and ruled it must make changes to its Windows system.

Google has been fined a record-breaking €4.34 billion ($5.04 billion) over antitrust violations regarding its Android operating system.

Pichai also notes that users are free to uninstall Google's apps at any time, which is entirely true - no one is forcing mobile owners to use the apps, though presumably at least some would use preinstalled apps simply for their convenience (for example, why bother to uninstall Chrome just to download and install Firefox?).

In addition, Google gave "financial incentives" to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they pre-installed Google Search on their devices, the commission said.

'These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. Google makes around $30 billion in revenue per quarter right now and its parent company, Alphabet, turned over more than $100 billion a year ago. There are more than two billion Android devices - including phones, tablets, and watches - being used around the world every month.

"Android hasn't hurt competition, it's expanded it", Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, wrote in a 2016 blog post rebutting the EU's initial charges. It's the highest anti-competition penalty ever imposed on a company by the EU.

Sundar Pichai has suggested that the EU's record $5 billion fine against Google will be bad for Android users.

Google, predictably, says it will appeal, and given the speed at which justice works in Europe, this case will continue to be dragged out for several years.

The European regulators have scrutinized Google for paying hefty amounts to smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators for having Google search as their default search app. Google is also blamed for laying out harsh guidelines which restrict OEM from developing Android forks based on AOSP. If Google doesn't make changes satisfying the regulator within 90 days, it can impose further fines that can reach 5% of Alphabet's (Google's parent company) daily turnover. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovations and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition.

Its popularity in turn could mean an uphill battle for European Union antitrust regulators seeking to level the playing field for Google's rivals. These laws are in place to ensure that fair competition is maintained among business corporations for the benefit of consumers. The decision also requires Google to refrain from any measure that has the same or an equivalent object or effect as these practices. Additionally, the company made payments to larger manufacturers on the condition that they exclusively pre-install the Search app, rather than installing apps from other search tools.

The company also limited the ability of manufacturers to sell phones running alternative versions of Android.

"Today's decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less". Google's appeal of the shopping decision is pending.


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