US President Donald Trump slams record EU fine against Google

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Washington | Published: July 19, 2018 10:42:45 PM

President Donald Trump lashed out today after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take "advantage" of the United States.

US President Donald Trump (Reuters)

President Donald Trump lashed out today after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take “advantage” of the United States. “I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google,” Trump tweeted in reaction to the 4.34 billion euro penalty imposed on Google for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system. “They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!” he said.

In announcing the fine on Wednesday, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager accused Google of using the Android system’s near-stranglehold on smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine while shutting out rivals. The decision, which followed a three-year EU investigation, comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount because of President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.

The new sanction nearly doubles the previous record EU antitrust fine of 2.4 billion euros, which also targeted Google, in that case for the Silicon Valley titan’s shopping comparison service in 2017. Denmark’s Vestager ordered Google to “put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.

The Google decision came one week before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was due to travel to the United States for crucial talks with the American president on the tariffs dispute and other issues. Google chief Sundar Pichai immediately said the firm would appeal. “Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal,” he said in a blog post.

Google provides Android free to smartphone manufacturers and generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with search results.
The EU says Android is used on around 80 per cent of mobile devices, both in Europe and worldwide.

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