Trump slams EU over $5-B fine on Google

Alicia Cross
July 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump on Thursday attacked the European Union for fining Google $7.4 billion ($5 billion US) for harming its competitors, tweeting that the incident proved the regional bloc has "taken advantage of the USA, but not for long!"

What the memo hints at, basically, is that Google might have to start charging companies for Android licences, should the European Commision's (EC) demands are granted.

It has also taken on Facebook over privacy issues after it admitted that millions of users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Trump's 2016 election campaign. "This is illegal under European Union antitrust rules".

The new sanction almost doubles the previous record European Union antitrust fine of €2.4 billion, which also targeted Google, in that case for the Silicon Valley titan's shopping comparison service in 2017.

The EU has given Google 90 days to makes changes to its practice, failing which the search engine giant will be slapped with daily fines of 5% of its annual revenue.

Vestager said Google had shut out rivals by forcing major phone makers including South Korea's Samsung and China's Huawei to pre-install its search engine and Google Chrome browser, thereby freezing out rivals.

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Following the EU's decision to slam Google with an exorbitant fine for anti-competitive behavior - an unprecedented $5 billion - CEO Sundar Pichai published a memo where he outlines why Google requires smartphone makers to set Chrome and Search as default services if they want access to the Google Play Store.

Mr Pichai added the decision from the European Union had the chance to "upset the careful balance" Google has "struck with Android".

Android, which runs about 80 per cent of the world's smartphones according to Strategy Analytics, is the most important of a trio of antitrust cases against Google.

Mr Pichai said: "The free distribution of the Android platform, and of Google's suite of applications, is not only efficient for phone makers and operators-it's of huge benefit for developers and consumers".

Previous year eMarketer forecast almost $50billion would be made by Google in 2017 from mobile ad revenue.

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