For manufacturers to run Google’s Play Store on their devices, manufacturers need to abide by Google’s requirement to have Google Chrome and Search pre-installed. Failure to do so results in manufacturers not being allowed to run the Play Store.
The European Union’s chief competition regulator, Margrethe Vestager has staunchly opposed the practice. She argued that the practice has ensured that Google maintains dominance in the Internet ecosystem. An apparent future ruling could stop Google from implementing such regulations on manufacturers opting to put Android in their smartphones. Google might also be forced by the E.U to give consumers an easier way to switch services in addition to hefty fines. This is the second time Google has been reprimanded by the E.U. Back in 2016, the tech behemoth was fined $2.7 billion for allegedly de-ranking competitor shop comparison tools over Google’s own.
Android is provided to OEM’s under the AOSP (Android Open Source Project), as the name suggests, it’s open-source, aka free. The company argued that they have to implement a way to make money in to keep the OS open in the first place. Jokob Kucharczyk, the vice president for competition and E.U regulatory policy for the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a trade group that represents Google, stated, “Nobody is forced to take Google’s apps, but if you want to have certain apps you have to have the whole suite.”
The European Union has seen a lot of changes with respect to policies surrounding technology. The most recent one being the GDPR. E.U’s has targeted their policies towards providing consumers better protection against malpractices by companies.
As and when E.U makes a ruling, Google will have the option to appeal it. But before that can be done, it will be subject to comply with the E.U’s ruling or paying daily fines.