EU set to fine Google billions over Android

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Brussels:

The EU is set to fine US internet giant Google several billion euros this week for freezing out rivals of its Android mobile phone system, sources said, in a ruling that risks fresh tensions with Washington.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to say on Wednesday that Google abused its dominant position in the market by making tie-ups with phone makers like South Korea’s Samsung and China’s Huawei.

The long-awaited decision comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount due to President Donald Trump’s shock decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports.

Two European sources told AFP the fine would be “several billion euros” without giving further details. EU rules say Google could be fined up to 10 per cent of parent company Alphabet’s annual revenue, which hit USD 110.9 billion in 2017.

“The fine is based on the length of the infraction, but also on whether anti-trust authorities believe there was an intention to commit the offence, and whether they excluded competitors or not,” said another source close to the matter.

The European Commission, the 28-nation EU’s executive arm, refused to comment.

Denmark’s Vestager has targeted a series of Silicon Valley giants in her four years as the 28-nation European Union’s anti-trust chief, winning praise in Europe but angering Washington.

The case against Android is the most significant of three complaints by the EU against the search titan, which has already been hit with a record-breaking 2.4-billion-euro fine in a Google shopping case.

Brussels has repeatedly targeted Google over the past decade amid concerns about the Silicon Valley giant’s dominance of Internet search across Europe, where it commands about 90 percent of the market.

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