Europe To Impose Record Fine In Google Antitrust Case: Report


Google is likely to find itself dealing with another multibillion-euro fine later this week for mobile device practices the European Commission considers stifling of competition, according to a report published Monday by Reuters.

The news agency reported regulators of Europe's digital market will penalize Google a record-breaking $2.8 billion on Wednesday to hamper tactics Google uses to get smartphone vendors to bundle its apps.

Europe's business watchdog has been scrutinizing potential abuses implemented to protect mobile advertising revenue that are made possible by the Internet giant's dominance in the mobile phone operating system market.

[Related: Google Faces New EU Antitrust Penalty For Android Practices, Report Says]

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Android owns nearly three-quarters of the mobile market in Europe, according to StatCounter, a web traffic analyst.

The Commission has voiced concerns that Google's efforts to encourage smartphone manufacturers to install Google Search, Play, and its Chrome browser on new devices constitute illicit pressure, as does Google's practice of paying some of those companies to pre-install Google apps.

Another area of inquiry is Google's policy of not allowing manufacturers to sell Android if they sell unofficial forks of the mobile operating system.

In addition to a fine, European regulators could order Google to abandon those practices to level the playing field.

Last year, Europe slapped Google with a $2.7 billion anti-trust fine for delivering search results they claim favor Google's own shopping services.

The fine currently looming will break that record.

This past March, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said she harbored "grave concerns" over Google's Internet dominance, and the regulatory body she leads was exploring breaking Google into smaller entities to protect competition.

Google has argued the contested practices are there to make it easier for developers to deliver apps that work seamlessly across smartphones. That's within its rights, Google has said, warning of harm to its larger ecosystem if incompatible Android versions become ubiquitous.

In still another probe that's ongoing, Europe is investigating Google’s AdSense for Search advertising service.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.