EU wants Google to stop giving companies money for search dominance

3 Oct 2016

Google search on Android phone. Image: mrmohock/Shutterstock

The EU is expected to announce that Google will have to pay a hefty fine and cease all financial incentives given to smartphone manufacturers to have its search engine as a default on devices.

Google and the EU have never exactly been the best of friends, with the company being scrutinised a number of times now for its business practices across its Google search activities and Android operating system.

In its latest antitrust case, Google has been accused of using its financial might to pay smartphone manufacturers on its Android operating system to use Google as their exclusive search engine.

Future Human

A 150-page document has now been sent to complainants asking for feedback and, according to Reuters, the EU will order Google to cease these incentives and most likely, pay a large fine.

Google has also been criticised by the EU for the inclusion of its own apps by default on Android phones.

The EU called this practice uncompetitive, as it meant third-party developers were not given a fair chance to have their apps of a similar service be downloaded onto the operating system.

According to the document seen by Reuters with regard to the Google search complaint, the company “cannot punish or threaten” any company if they don’t comply with its requirements.

Google has been here before

This imminent announcement will mark a victory for the lobby group known as FairSearch that filed the complaint with the EU back in 2013, with support from companies who feared search engine dominance on smartphones.

As for what Google could be expected to pay out in terms of a fine, it has been suggested that it would be a percentage of revenue generated by AdWords clicks within the EU nations, or purchases made in the Google Play Store.

A third issue raised with Google that relates to its alleged favouring of its own shopping services over competitors is also now expected to see the company hit with a fine.

In response to these cases, Google has said: “We look forward to showing the European Commission that we’ve designed the Android model in a way that’s good for both competition and consumers, and supports innovation across the region.”

Google search on Android phone. Image: mrmohock/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic