Google could be facing a new record penalty from European antitrust regulators for forcing its search and web-browsing tools on the makers of Android-powered devices.
The search engine giant made it a requirement for Android phone and tablet manufacturers to have Google Chrome and Google Search pre-installed if they wanted access to the Play Store - aAnd European regulators aren't too happy with the idea, says the Washington Post.
In what could eventually result in major changes to one of the world's most-used mobile operating systems, the punishment comes from the European Union's competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, who says the requirement gives Google an unfair advantage over any competing search tool and browser by ensuring its dominance in maintaining its own ecosystem.
According to people familiar with the matter, the punishment is expected to come in the form of a huge fine, in the region of billions of dollars.
Vestager is expected to deliver the final decision on the total cost of the penalty next week.
This isn't the first time Google has been caught red-handed threatening corporate rivals and consumers by the EU's antitrust officials.
In September 2017, regulators fined the search giant a record $2.7 billion (£2 billion) for unfairly favouring some of its own services over those of rivals, and sent Google a formal antitrust complaint accusing the firm of restricting Android smartphone and tablet makers from adding their own competing apps to the operating system.
They also said Google paid phone makers and telecoms operators to install only the firm's search app on phones.
"We believe that Google's behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services, and stands in the way of innovation by other players," Vestager said in a statement at the time.
"Our concern is that by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers."
The EU's focus on Silicon Valley has prompted accusations from some in the United States that the European Union is unfairly targeting American companies, but EU officials have since strongly denied such allegations.
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