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Alphabet may face large EU fine over antitrust issues

European regulators want Google to stop paying phone makers to preinstall Google search on their devices, Reuters reports.

Google may face a large fine over its business practices.
Getty Images

Antitrust regulators for the EU have reportedly warned Alphabet it may face a large fine over anticompetitive practices involving its Android mobile operating software.

Regulators want Alphabet's Google to stop paying phone makers to preinstall Google search on their devices, Reuters reported Saturday, citing a document sent to complainants last week. The company could face a large fine if the EU determines that these arrangements are continuing, according to the report.

Google contends its mobile operating system has benefited both competition and customers.

"We believe that Android has increased competition, lowered prices, and benefited users, developers and phone manufacturers," a Google spokesman said in a statement Monday. "We look forward to showing the European Commission how our approach has made Android a successful and sustainable open-source ecosystem."

The report comes nearly six months after the European Commission's competition commissioner accused the search and mobile software giant of unfair business practices for forcing phone makers to install its apps in return for access to Google's Play Store.

The EU charged that Google requires manufacturers to preinstall its own search service and its Chrome browser, prevents them from selling devices running on competing versions of Android based on open-source code, and gives financial incentives to phone makers and carriers that exclusively preinstall Google search.

In a separate action, the EU may fine the company over the Google Shopping service, which it claims Google favors over rival services.

First published October 2, 11:38 a.m. PT.

Update, October 3 at 12:45 p.m.: Adds comment from Google.