Yesterday Google was handed a fine for €4.3 billion by the European Commission for abusing its position in the region’s mobile market and violating anti-trust laws involving its Android services.
The tech giant was also told that it had 90 days to stop all of the activities it was deemed to have infringed upon, but Google has stated that it will appeal the ruling.
In reaction to the fine, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a lengthly post on the company’s official blog explaining their view of the situation, as well as hinting at possible outcomes as a result of the European Commission’s ruling.
To that end, Pichai noted that the bundling of pre-installed apps mentioned by the EU is a necessary part of the Android ecosystem, and forcing Google to stop doing could have a negative effect on said ecosystem.
“The free distribution of the Android platform, and of Google’s suite of applications, is not only efficient for phone makers and operators—it’s of huge benefit for developers and consumers. If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn’t include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem…”
“We’ve always agreed that with size comes responsibility. A healthy, thriving Android ecosystem is in everyone’s interest, and we’ve shown we’re willing to make changes. But we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms,” Pichai points out.
What the Google CEO is saying here is that in order to keep Android’s platform open and free, it needs to bundle apps and search on devices in order to fund the OS’ operations. Income from such initiatives accounting for just over 50 percent of the company’s digital ad revenue.
Reading between the lines of Picahi’s post, it can be inferred that any change to the current Android business model as a result of this recent fine, may lead Google to have to license its mobile OS to phone makers in order to cover the company’s margins.
Whether it would in fact do so is certainly up for debate, but this latest post from Picahi serves as a subtle warning shot to the EU.
Could Google be telling the European Commission to mind its own business and not upset the status quo?
[Image – CC0 Pixabay]