The big picture: It was almost exactly one year ago when Google was hit with a record $2.7 billion fine by the EU commission after its shopping comparison service was found to breach antitrust rules. Now, the company faces another record fine from European regulators in a second antitrust case, this one involving Android, and it could arrive as soon as next month.
In April 2016, the EU Commission charged Google with abusing its position as owner of the dominant Android operating system. It’s claimed Google demanded handset makers pre-install Chrome and other search products in return for access to Google apps and the app store. It’s also accused of barring manufacturers from using forked versions of Android and paying smartphone makers and mobile network operators to pre-install only Google search on their devices.
E.U.’s antitrust czar, Margrethe Vestager, is “poised to announce the negative finding within weeks,” and could hit Google with an even larger fine than the one handed down last year. The Financial Times reports that the commission could demand Google pay up to 10 percent of parent company Alphabet’s total turnover—around $11 billion—but these penalties are usually at the lower end of the scale.
Google has its hands full with the EU commission right now. It is still appealing the charges that it favored its shopping comparison service over those of its competitors and is contesting the fine. The EU has also accused the company of abusing its position to block rivals in online search advertising. “We are advancing on our two cases involving Google, both the Android case and the AdSense case,” Vestager told EU lawmakers back in April.