Google fined $6.8bn for 'illegal practices'

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

Trump took to Twitter over the decision: "I told you so!"

European Union officials have been investigating Google contracts that require manufacturers of Android phones to take Google's search and browser apps and other Google services when they want to license the Play app store.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc., called the fine a "competition decision against Android" and that the EU's decision ignores the fact that Android phones are in competition with Apple's iPhones.

To Trump, the fine appeared to serve as the latest evidence of Europe's exploitation of the United States on a variety of matters, including trade and nations' contributions to defense spending, and it came a day after he threatened "tremendous retribution", particularly on European-made cars, if the EU doesn't change its trade policies.

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The decision, which follows a three-year investigation, comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount due to President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.

The fine is the largest ever issued by the European Commission in an antitrust case and will surpasses the €2.42bn penalty issued to the Silicon Valley firm a year ago. "Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe".

The EC gave Google's parent company, Alphabet, 90 days to stop such practices or face further penalties.

"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less", Google spokesman Al Verney said in a statement. In the post, Google took a firm stand for itself and said that Android has helped 1,300 different smartphone manufacturers to develop Android-based mobiles. That would yield crucial real estate for app developers given that about 80 percent of smart mobile devices use Android.

Margrethe Vestager, the Competition Commissioner for the European Union, stated the huge fine would force Google to change its ways, increasing the chances of competition search apps and browsers to be downloaded.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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