Google is making huge changes to Android to avoid being fined $15 million a day

  • Google was fined €4.3 billion ($US5 billion) in July by the EU over its Android monopoly.
  • The EU gave Google 90 days to get its house in order, saying if it didn’t, it could be fined up to 5% of its daily revenue for each day it fails to comply with EU laws.
  • That means it could have been fined as much as $US15.2 million a day, on top of the $US5 billion penalty.
  • Google filed an appeal against the ruling, but in the meantime, it will implement changes to comply with the EU’s decision.

Google was fined a record €4.3 billion ($US5 billion/£3.8 billion) by the EU in July, and although it’s appealing the ruling, the tech giant has announced it’s complying with the EU’s decision.

The European Commission antitrust watchdog, led by Margrethe Vestager, identified three key transgressions, which prompted the $US5 billion fine:

  • Requiring mobile device manufacturers to preinstall Google’s browser and search apps for access to the Play store.
  • Paying manufacturers to exclusively preinstall Google Search.
  • Preventing manufacturers from selling devices running alternative versions of Android.

The Commission said if these issues were not put right within 90 days, Google would be fined up to 5% of the global daily revenue of its parent company Alphabet.

Alphabet’s total annual revenue stood at $US110.9 billion last year, which evens out at a daily average of approximately $US304 million. That means Google could have been stung with penalties of as much as $US15.2 million a day, on top of its existing $US5 billion fine.

But on Tuesday, Google published a blog post announcing that it would be complying with the EU’s Android demands while it is in the process of appealing.

It said it would no longer require European phone manufacturers who use its Android operating system to pre-install Google apps. The downside for manufacturers is that they will now have to pay to pre-install apps such as Gmail or the Google Play Store.

The EU originally gave Google a deadline of October 28, and the company said the changes will come into effect on October 29. The move seems designed to avoid incurring further fines should Google lose its appeal against the EU.

Google is not entirely off the hook, however. A Commission spokeswoman told Business Insider: “It is Google’s responsibility to comply with its obligations under the decision. The Commission will closely monitor Google’s compliance to ensure that the remedy is effective and respects the Decision.”

The EU was also keen to emphasise that its decision did not stipulate that Google charge manufacturers to install its apps. “It is for Google to decide exactly how to comply with the Commission’s decision. The decision does not require Google to charge for any of its apps or for the Play Store,” the spokeswoman added.

Business Insider contacted Google for comment.

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