President Trump has sharply criticised the European Union over the record €4.3 billion ($5.1bn) anti-trust fine levied earlier this week.
The announcement of the findings of the had been due in June was put back to prevent it from over-shadowing Trump's state visit to Europe earlier this month.
In a tweet, Trump claimed that the fine was proof that the terms of trade between the EU and US were unfair: "I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!"
The case will almost certainly come up between President Trump and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in a meeting next week.
I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 19 July 2018
The fine on Google was based on what the European union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager claimed were three trade restrictions exercised by Google:
- Requiring device manufacturers to pre-install Google apps on Android as a condition for licensing the Google Play Store;
- Striking exclusivity deals with device makers and mobile operators; and,
- Preventing manufacturers from making smartphones running forked versions of Android.
"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine," said Vestager. "These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere."
The size of the fine reflected "the seriousness and the sustained nature" of Google's actions, she added. Google, which has 90 days to comply fully with the EU order, which would entail abandoning the legal agreements tying the Play Store and Google apps to Android, has said it will appeal.
In a blog posting, CEO Sunder Pichai claimed that the Android business model enabled a wider choice of devices and different brands.
"To be successful, open-source platforms have to painstakingly balance the needs of everyone that uses them. History shows that without rules around baseline compatibility, open-source platforms fragment, which hurts users, developers and phone makers. Android's compatibility rules avoid this, and help make it an attractive long-term proposition for everyone," Pichai wrote.
He continued: "Today, because of Android, a typical phone comes preloaded with as many as 40 apps from multiple developers, not just the company you bought the phone from.
"If you prefer other apps - or browsers, or search engines - to the preloaded ones, you can easily disable or delete them, and choose other apps instead, including apps made by some of the 1.6 million Europeans who make a living as app developers."
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