Google hit with record 4.3-bn-euro EU fine over Android (File Photo)
Tech giant Google on Wednesday said it will appeal against the European Commission's antitrust fine of 4.34 billion euros (USD 5 billion), contending that its Android operating system (OS) has "created more choice for everyone, not less".
Google's India-born CEO Sundar Pichai, in a blogpost, defended the popular mobile OS saying it was because of Android that there are now more than 24,000 devices available across price points from over 1,300 different brands, including many European phone makers.
"It (the decision) also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones," he asserted.
The European Union has slapped Google with a whopping 4.34-billion-euro fine for abusing the dominance of its Android OS in the biggest antitrust penalty in the bloc's history. The decision, which follows a three-year investigation, said the US tech giant had illegally used Android's near-monopoly to boost usage of its own search engine and browser.
Last year, Google was penalised with a USD 2.7 billion penalty for favouring its shopping service over competitors.
Pichai said in 2007, Google "chose" to offer Android to phone makers and mobile network operators for free, even though Google invested billions of dollars over the last decade to build the Android platform.
He noted that this investment makes sense for the company because it can offer phone makers the option of pre-loading a suite of popular Google apps (like Search, Chrome, Play, Maps and Gmail) as some of these generate revenue for the company.
He pointed that phone makers do not have to include Google's services and they're also free to pre-install competing apps alongside its own, which meant that the company earns revenue only if its apps are installed, and if people choose to use its apps instead of the rival apps.
"But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favour of proprietary systems over open platforms," he argued.
Pichai said rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition and Android has enabled all of them.
"Today's decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal," he added.