Google was fined five billion dollars for the second time since last year by the European Union for breaking antitrust laws 18th July this year. As pointed out by the European Commission, Google has “abused their market dominance” in three ways this time by:
- Bundling Google search engine and Chrome apps into Android
- Blocking phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android
- Having “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators” to bundle the Google search app on devices
Having been fined 2.7 billion dollars last year over “manipulating search results,” as of now, the EU have succeeded in grabbing nearly 7.7 billion US dollars from Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) alone.
Crimes Google Has Committed
All for giving away an operating system as successful as Android free to device manufacturers in exchange for the inclusion of their profitable apps. And giving away a search engine for free for users who accept beforehand that the priority would be given to some of their profitable services.
We all know that Google has not been the only company that has been fined by EU either.
- Microsoft was fined twice in 2008 and 2013 a total of close 1.5 billion euros,
- Intel in 2009 1.06 billion euros,
- Facebook last year 110 million euros
- And of course Google, who is on top of them all in the amount that was seized.
- And Apple was not treated any better. They were ordered to pay back 15.4 billion dollars of tax to the EU.
What Could Be Behind All This?
As Mark Jamison writes to AEI, the European Union goes about fining American tech companies like this because of a few obvious and not so obvious reasons:
- As a way to grab revenues and for the fear of being outperformed
- Taking down business models that distort competition by not going with the normal flow
- The two-sided market where both the service provider and the customer benefit from each other
- Bundled services, the revenues from which covers costs for the OS
- American entrepreneurs disrupting the established order in Europe
Among the number of tech startups in US, the few make it certainly do expand themselves to the UK. And the business strategy used in there also happens to be the same that they use elsewhere, which is giving away free services for customers in exchange for accepting that the profitable services that would be marketed. So the pattern that he describes ends by EU objecting to European customers choosing these services by fining the companies.
So, where exactly the European Union has come up to all these years? Nowhere actually, not even the European tech companies, because among the 20 global leaders in tech, none are from Europe.