EU's Android antitrust fine reportedly won't dent Google power

A multibillion dollar fine will cost Google money, but it'll leave intact the tech giant's services on phones, like search and maps, Reuters says.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors | Semiconductors | Web browsers | Quantum computing | Supercomputers | AI | 3D printing | Drones | Computer science | Physics | Programming | Materials science | USB | UWB | Android | Digital photography | Science Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
2 min read
European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google can expect a very expensive slap on the wrist in the next few months as a result of a European Union antitrust action involving its Android smartphone software, Reuters reported Thursday.

The European Commission's years-long action charges Google with using its Android dominance to forcibly require phone makers to include apps for Google services like search and Google Maps .

The competition watchdog is expected to levy a major, multibillion dollar fine on Google and to bar it from requiring the apps -- but the move won't actually affect the tech behemoth's dominance because Google's services now are deeply entrenched in the market, Reuters said. The news agency cited unnamed people familiar with the commission's thinking.

The European competition regulators also were unhappy about how Google promoted its own services in search results. In that case, the authorities fined the company $2.7 billion, but Google appealed the case.

Google didn't respond immediately to a request for comment. The European Commission declined to comment.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has tried to take a stiffer stance against powerful tech giants. "We have no objection to Google dominating the market with its search engine. We just don't want it to use that dominance to squeeze out competition," Vestager said in November.

First published April 12, 12:11 p.m. PT.
Update, 5:33 p.m.:
Adds a response from the European Commission.

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.

Blockchain Decoded:  CNET looks at the tech powering bitcoin -- and soon, too, a myriad of services that will change your life.