A summary of the original findings by the European Commission (1):

"By decision of 18 July 2018, the Commission fined Google for having abused its dominant position by imposing anticompetitive contractual restrictions on manufacturers of mobile devices and on mobile network operators, in some cases since 1 January 2011. Three types of restriction were identified:

1. those contained in ‘distribution agreements’, requiring manufacturers of mobile devices to pre-install the general search (Google Search) and (Chrome) browser apps in order to be able to obtain a licence from Google to use its app store (Play Store);

2. those contained in ‘anti-fragmentation agreements’, under which the operating licences necessary for the pre-installation of the Google Search and Play Store apps could be obtained by mobile device manufacturers only if they undertook not to sell devices running versions of the Android operating system not approved by Google;

3. those contained in ‘revenue share agreements’, under which the grant of a share of Google’s advertising revenue to the manufacturers of mobile devices and the mobile network operators concerned was subject to their undertaking not to pre-install a competing general search service on a predefined portfolio of devices."


Cool. The EU does have its [many!] faults. But they have a pretty good track record when it comes to consumer rights and consumer choice. Next up I'd like to see them do the same for the plethora of incompatible cordless power-tool systems out there as they did with insisting all mobile phones standardise on a USB connector.
The fallout from this should be interesting. This fine is a substantial part (roughly 25%!) of Google's overall revenue from the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa), of which the EU is probably like 90%, at least, of the total, so it's probably toing the line of actually making the EU unprofitable to Google considering the costs of future compliance to avoid being fined again. Worse: this was not as steep as the fine could have been, they could've fined them about double this amount under current regulations, but chose not to. Probably because that would have pushed Google's EU operations into the red for sure and made the decision easy for them.

To be sure the company won't be in trouble financially, their global revenue can cover the fine, but that doesn't stop the EU from potentially being a net loss for the company going forward. Abandoning the EU would be a drastic step, though. It's going to be interesting to see how they adapt to this. Another fine on this scale and I think they will pull out.

Google's reaction.

> We are disappointed that the Court did not annul the decision in full. Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.

s/Android/Windows/ and s/Europe/USA/ and it could be Microsoft at the end of the antitrust case in the 90s.

Extremely interesting point in this ruling that I have never seen before and I guarantee is sending shockwaves to the boardrooms is the definition of market. In this ruling EU chose to define the market as “Android phone manufacturers all over the world except China”.

Of course that definition is very peculiar. I was doubtful that it would stick but apparently it did.

This is fascinating that a regulator can define market as “users of YOUR_PRODUCT excluding all competitors you thought AND across the world EXCEPT the very place where everything is made”.

Now that it has stuck, it would change the dynamics of business. It started with tech but its going to trickle down :)

> This is Google's third EU antitrust fine. Previously, the search giant was fined in a shopping case and an online advertising case.

Apparently, "three strikes and you're out" only applies to individuals, who with a repeat offense of this magnitude would have their lives destroyed by the justice system, and get locked away for a decade or more.

> Android has created more choice for everyone, not less

Did it? I can choose between an iOS phone and an Android phone.

I may be able to choose from different manufacturers on the Android side, but on the software side there are just two options.

Yesss! EU is doing its job.

I'm very happy every time they manage to give a slap on the wrist of these monopolies

That increases the budget of the eu parliament with 2.2% on a yearly basis if paid out in one go.

[1082B for 2014-2020, 4B/1082B*6y~2.2%]

A loss of 4B is a decrease of revenue by 1.5% for google.

[googles revenue was 256B in 2021 4/256~1.5%]

It's interesting how the two continents are keeping each other in check when it comes to major abuses. The EU fining big US tech and the US fining VW are the prominent examples. In each case the home country has big incentives to keep the status quo fully aware that it's bad for consumers.
It’s not clear to me what the EU, specifically, wants Google to do here from the article. Any insight?
That’s 1.45% of their annual revenue or 5.2% of their annual net profit.
EU has decided to make a living out of fining the tech companies regularly.
So... What's the end result? Google has to charge for Android? Ask users their search preference?
Apparently the court system still uses 32 bits.

(~4B is the 32bit integer limit...)

Does the money in these cases go to government? Not sure how it is in the EU.

This is one of the aspects of government-based fines I dislike. The money should go to the people, the victims, not government. They go after a company that may have damaged consumers and then proceed to grab the fine instead of giving it to the people who were the actual victims of the transgression.

Android/GP is the most corrupted market in the history of mankind. Just baffling how EU aim for non-important things.
Maybe a boring question, but where do the money goes ?

Can they use that to finance grants or RFPs for other projects ?

I'm kind of bummed that FOSS licencing isn't one of the teeth here. The anticompetitive aspects here are based in overly restrictive distributor contracts. The fact that android and chrome are so full of FOSS, yet Google does what it does...
If the page fails to scroll on your screen, just disable JS (one click in uBlock Origin).
This is a big win for Google, who has been fighting an EU ruling that said it used its Android mobile operating system to stymie rivals. The ruling was upheld by the European Court of Justice on Thursday.
I really respect the EU for having the guts to hold corporations accountable.
Who gets the $4B? How will it be determined where it's spent?
What amount would these EU fines have to be to make companies like Google and Facebook decide to exit the EU?
Yet, still pocket change.

It is commendable that EU does not allow miscreants to tie up fines in an endless legal maze.

How much is Google Revenue?
While I am in favour of efforts like the GDPR to protect users data, I wonder if all this anti-bigtech sentiment is actually justified and where it will eventually lead to