Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

Google Hints A Future Where Android Might NOT Be Free

Google Hints A Future Where Android Might NOT Be Free

European Union regulators announced on Wednesday it was hitting Google with a $5 billion fine for violating antitrust laws by bundling its apps, like Chrome and Google Play, with its Android operating system.

It said Google has imposed illegal restrictions on device manufacturers and GSM operators for the last seven years who use its Android system to strengthen the dominance of its position in the search engine market.

What the memo hints at, basically, is that Google might have to start charging companies for Android licences, should the European Commision's (EC) demands are granted.

It has also taken on Facebook over privacy issues after it admitted that millions of users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Android warning
GettySundar Pichai hinted the'free distribution of Android could be disrupted

To Trump, the fine appeared to serve as the latest evidence of Europe's exploitation of the United States on a variety of matters, including trade and nations' contributions to defense spending, and it came a day after he threatened "tremendous retribution", particularly on European-made cars, if the EU doesn't change its trade policies. She said Google breached antitrust rules by requiring device manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Chrome.

The new sanction almost doubles the previous record European Union anti-trust fine of 2.4 billion euros, which also targeted Google, in that case for the Silicon Valley titan's shopping comparison service in 2017.

Google has been given 90 days to cease all illegal practices or face additional fines of up to 5% of Google parent company Alphabet's global turnover. "We intend to appeal", he said in a blog post. Pichai argues that Google doesn't force anyone to use either of them, that it's easy to install other solutions and that Google lets phone makers and developers preload rival services on its version of Android.

Google provides Android free to smartphone manufacturers and generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with search results. There are more than two billion Android devices - including phones, tablets, and watches - being used around the world every month.

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