Google Bitten by 2nd Antitrust Fine in the EU, $5 billion, Hugest Ever Anywhere. Third Waiting in the Wings

“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.”

In the US, the internet giants – Google, Facebook, Amazon, et al. – can do pretty much as they please, interrupted only by occasional hearings in Congress, where Mark Zuckerberg, or whoever, has to grin-and-bear it for a few hours, knowing that this too shall pass. The EU takes antitrust actions against super-dominant giants a tad more seriously.

The EU’s Competition Commission, after a three-year investigation, hit Google with a €4.3 billion antitrust fine – $5 billion – the highest fine ever by any antitrust agency anywhere.

No one dominates like Google. According to earlier EU findings cited by Bloomberg, Google’s market share exceeds 90% for general Internet search, licensed mobile device operating systems, and app stores for Android software.

“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits.”

The fine is so large because of Google’s “very serious illegal behavior” going back to 2011 and due to the huge revenues Google has earned with this behavior, she said.

In addition, Google was given 90 days to stop its “illegal practices” of forcing cellphone makers that use Google’s Android operating system to install Google apps.

This fine comes on top of the €2.4-billion fine the EU hit Google with in 2017 after an investigation into Google’s shopping-search service.

And the EU is not through yet. It’s investigating Google’s online advertising contracts and could issue an additional fine. Online advertising is Google’s primary revenues source.


The EU said Google ensures that Google Search and Chrome are pre-installed on “practically all Android devices” sold in Europe. Users who find these apps on their phones are likely to stick with them and “do not download competing apps in numbers that can offset the significant commercial advantage derived on pre-installation.”

Google’s actions reduce the incentives for manufacturers to install and for users to seek out competing apps, it said.

The probe targeted contracts that require Android-phones makers to take Google’s search and browser apps and other Google services when they want to license the Play app store, which officials say is a “must-have” for new phones.

The EU also found illegal Google’s “significant financial incentives” to telecoms operators and manufacturers that exclusively install Google search on devices. Rivals couldn’t compete with these payments, making it difficult for any other search engine to get their app pre-installed. The EU said Google stopped doing this in 2014.

Google’s contracts also prevented handset makers selling phones using other versions of Android, the EU said. This hampered manufacturers from making devices using Inc.’s Fire OS Android version, it said.

Regulators rejected arguments that Apple Inc. competes with Android, saying Apple’s phone software can’t be licensed by handset makers and that Apple phones are often priced outside many Android users’ purchasing power. Users face “switching costs” to move from Apple to Android and would continue to face Google Search as a default on Apple devices.

In a long statement on its blog, holier-than-thou Google praises itself from A through Z, in essence portraying itself as the greatest gift to mankind and that therefore, it should be allowed to do as it pleases. It includes this:

Today, because of Android, there are more than 24,000 devices, at every price point, from more than 1,300 different brands, including Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish phone makers.

And these devices are running on Android. In other words: Google is everywhere, and its ads and apps are on all these devices. Hence the Competition Commission’s point: if you’re this dominant, you’ve got to follow some rules.

At the end of its long statement, Google said: “We intend to appeal.” Companies always appeal fines. Google is no exception. And the end product might be much less ambitious.

At the press conference, Vestager said it was up to Google to figure out how to comply with the Commission’s order. “The obvious minimum” Google would need to do, she said, is that the “contractual restrictions disappear.”

But don’t cry for Google. These practices helped it earn it a net profit of $12.7 billion in 2017 and of $19.5 billion in 2016. The decision and a fine of enormous magnitude has been expected. And Google’s shares are currently flat for the day.

“This emerging trend highlights just how much risk some investors are willing to take in the current environment.” Read…  As Risks Balloon, Yield Chasers Blow Off the Fed

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  84 comments for “Google Bitten by 2nd Antitrust Fine in the EU, $5 billion, Hugest Ever Anywhere. Third Waiting in the Wings

  1. Jerry says:

    The EU must be broke……..

    Will the USA respond with a fine against DB and finally put it to death.

    • Bobber says:

      Let’s not pretend Google is and American company and DB is a European company. Both operate globally, and each couldn’t care less about the fortunes of any particular nation.

      Large monopolies like Google have too much power. They eliminate competition by buying them out. They don’t buy big rivals that would cause antitrust concern, because no big rivals exist in their spaces. Instead, they buy any and every small company that has a chance of competing one day. They’ll do 20-40 of these acquisitions per year to fly under the antitrust radar. Unfortunately, the result is the same – continuance of a monopoly.

      • max says:


historically, monopoly has almost always represented a problem in society only when created, protected or imposed by government intervention.


        “Dominant Firms Control the Regulators
        When new regulatory bodies are created to regulate firms like Facebook and other dominant firms, the institutions with the most at stake in a regulatory agency’s decisions end up controlling the agencies themselves. We see this all the time in the revolving door between legislators, regulators, and lobbyists. And you can also be sure that once this happens, the industry will close itself off to new innovative firms seeking to enter the marketplace. The regulatory agencies will ensure the health of the status quo providers at the cost of new entrepreneurs and new competitors.”

      • Anon1970 says:

        Google is not a monopoly. Try oligopoly. I use Bing as my default search engine on my computer along with Add Block Plus to get rid of most advertising. It is a constant battle between consumers and greedy businesses. Sometimes the consumer wins; sometimes it is the owner of the website. Then there is a local company in the SF area called Sonic which is really nice to deal with and charges less than AT&T was charging me five years ago for DSL and my landline.

    • Frederick says:

      The US started this tit for tat with the VW dieselgate nothingburger Who are you kidding?

      • Mean Chicken says:

        I guess VW was lying about diesel emissions. Caterpillar and numerous other equipment manufacturers/businesses who’ve suffered the slings and arrows of EPA requirements certainly aren’t kidding.

        Humankind remains reliant on diesel engines for applications where real and reliable power is crucial, just sit back and consider the numerous instances.

  2. Justme says:

    When will EU fine Amazon for their Fire tablet, Kindle e-reader and other devices (Alexa!) designed to monopolize the online shopping market?

  3. Dave Mac says:

    I used to “google it” on the web.

    Now I simply “duck it” instead:

    • TIMOTHY J MCLEAN says:

      I use Duck too, but I think their market share is well under 1%.

      • Vexser says:

        There are daily reports coming out about google (or their third party developers) reading your personal emails, spying and amassing huge databases (which are rife for the hacking!). I use duckduck, have my own mail server and won’t discuss *anything* personal with sheeple who use gmail. I have a “one strike policy” and if they reveal anything personal, I bounce their emails. Once people *slowly* begin to understand the massive sneaky (doing evil) tentacles of google, they will come around, and the likes of duckduck will grow. That said, I do have several youtube channels etc, but am very careful to “sanitize” all interaction with them. They have their uses and you can go to bed with [social media] snakes if you wear the appropriate protection. I also block their and other advertising stuff at my network edge router’s DNS. I use Firefox with *all* the privacy and anti-tracking stuff turned on. If you “think like a criminal” you can (mostly) defend against them. I still have problems trying to uninstall some google apps/bloatware on a couple of android tablets I have though (compared to crapple, Android is MUCH cheaper).

        • Anon1970 says:

          My Android tablet came with a bunch of bloatware when I bought it new a few years ago. But the bloatware was not disclosed on the Amazon’s website. Unfortunately, bloatware cannot be removed easily and if you try to “jailbreak” it (something only techies should even think about trying), you will void the warranty.

      • Halsey Taylor says:

        Back in the day of Alta Vista, Webcrawler, and AoL, Google was the 1%.

  4. Winston says:

    Fines which they will, of course, simply pass on to their customers.

    The only deterrent for corporate malfeasance is JAIL TIME.

    • Not Amused says:

      In theory, anyway.

    • Gershon says:

      The only deterrent for corporate malfeasance is JAIL TIME.

      Jeff Sessions will get right on that.

      • Frederick says:

        Sessions is “out to lunch” permanently no doubt Some are saying he is preparing so many thousands of indictments but I have serious doubts He is obviously just another useless, self serving swamp dweller

    • Mean Chicken says:

      I often wonder if crypto and PM speculators aren’t anticipating similar results.

  5. Memento mori says:

    You got this wrong Wolf, they don’t care about market dominance , this is simply a money grab in the same way US punishes European companies (remember what they did to Volkswagen); this is payback time, nothing less.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Volkswagen designed a system that purposefully violated emission laws in the US and other countries, lied about it, covered it up, and continued to lie about it even while it was under investigation. Volkswagen was doing the same thing in other countries, including Germany. Some of its top executives have been dragged to jail, including in Germany Audi CEO Stadler (in June).

      That company decided that the laws passed by democratic institutions in the US and Europe simply needed to be broken. These kinds of companies need to be hit with fines that are so huge that they push them into Chap 11 bankruptcy where investors and bondholders lose everything, and from which the companies emerge with totally new management, while their old management is rotting in jail.

      OK, maybe that’s a little strong, but corporations are NOT above the law.

      It would have been helpful to apply this to the finance sector.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        Not too strong at all.

        Decap/Recap is the only way to punish a corporation. Decapitate the company (send the management to jail), then zero out the stock and bondholders, and recapitalize the business with fresh management.

        Fines don’t punish anyone except the customers (who pay higher prices) and possibly shareholders (lower dividends or share prices). Customers have no choice and shareholders are mostly investment funds who have abdicated their responsibility to “own” the company. Punishing them does nothing.

        Fines also give government the wrong incentive structure: the optimal outcome for the regulators is to tolerate wrongdoing until they can levy a huge fine and carve out a slice of the ill-gotten profits.

      • MCH says:

        Wolf, the odds of the German government pushing VW into bankruptcy or letting any government push VW into bankruptcy is precisely zero. Too much entrenched economic interest. If a CEO ha.s to take a bullet to save the company, so be it.

        I would like to say the same should be true for American companies, but the US govt only cares if you’re of sufficient size, and have sufficient lobbying dollars, otherwise, the company can die.

        In this case, I’m not even sure who the fines would punish, and it isn’t absolutely clear to me that Google has broken any law. Let’s take a hypothetical here, if you have the best product/service in the world that is so good it trounces every competitor by a mile, and all the consumers come to only you. Then are you necessarily violating some anti-trust laws? I’m not saying the case applies to Google herek. What Google is asking for isn’t money to license out their OS, I suppose they could do that, but they have something else in mind.
        And I’m not sure it’s necessarily wrong. After all, nothing prevents a consumer from installing another search app. If the consumer is too lazy, why would that be Google’s fault.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          MCH, Wolf’s proposal, applied to VW, would not wipe out the company, just the crooks at the top and the shareholders who enabled them through poor governance. The profits would still be there for the new owners, and the politicians can always find ways to get their skim off the top.

          Regarding your hypothetical: “if you have the best product/service in the world that is so good it trounces every competitor by a mile”… Sorry, that’s not the issue. The issue is that these “best in the world” companies SQUELCH all competition. The anti-trust part comes not from being excellent, but from eliminating your competition by buying them up or driving them out of business through unfair practices.

          There are plenty of competitive search engines besides Google. There are also plenty of online ad platforms besides Google.

          There used to be many other mobile phone systems as well. Android is only “free” because Google monetizes their customers’ data; in a world with consumer privacy rights, Google would have no business model.

          There are also online retailers other than Amazon, and Amazon is only outcompeting them because it operates its online retail business at a loss, funded by profits from other lines of business like AWS. (Do that in manufacturing and it’s called dumping, and gets you a lot of litigation…)

      • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

        That’s not too strong at all.

        In the case of VW, Toyota’s defective airbags, etc., you can sound to a few, to scores of deaths. Now, what punishment would I get if I went out and killed a few, to scores, of people. What if I had a friend who was in on it with me, perhaps providing a rifle and ammo, driving me to/from kill sites, or even just egging me on and buying me a few good dinners after each “success”?

        No, what you suggest is not too extreme at all.

      • Silly Me says:

        Chances are all diesel-operated vehicles cheat… How else can one explain the virtually identical output?

        Believing in Santa seems easier than any real justice against oligopolies. Last time I remember was the dissection of AT&T and fining Microsoft for forcing its browser on Windows users. The Bayer-Monsanto deal is likely the deadliest one of the century, yet it was “allowed.”

      • Memento mori says:

        There is no question VW broke the law, so did google and many other corporations. The difference is who the government chooses to go after and who determines the fines.
        Why not fine google 100billions? Or 1 trillion for that matter?
        My golf TD despite the cheating mechanism still pollutes less than mos gas guzzlers manufactured in the US. Diesel cars were fine pieces of engineering, but they were manufactured by Germans and the us car dealers simply could not compete.
        Is the punishment fit for th crime, this is the question, and having us or eu bureaucracy determine that is hardly reassuring. Politics and money grab is all I can see in those cases.

      • Frederick says:

        Agreed Too bad some seem to be “above prosecution” That said I think I saw Jon Corzine on the beach in Bridgehampton last week

      • EMHO says:


      • Mean Chicken says:

        Shareholders aren’t criminals thus why should shareholders be made to shoulder the burden of undisclosed criminal behavior? Yes, the corporate criminals should be made to pay their personal debt to society for laws they violated.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Mean Chicken,

          Shareholders (the owners!) are in charge. The buck stops there. They put the board of directors in place to govern the company. If it is clear that shareholders lose their investment if they abdicate their responsibilities, they’ll insist on proper governance rather than just beating quarterly earnings by hook or cook, and buying back shares — or they will at least cut the price in half that they’re willing to pay for the shares, given the risks associated with bad corporate governance.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          This business about shareholders is more subtle than just saying “shareholders are in charge”. There’s been too much intermediation of “shareholder ownership” and no, shareholders aren’t taking the reins except when an activist fund steps in.

          Large fractions of stock are held by passive investment funds (index funds, etc.) that don’t do anything in terms of corporate governance, so far as I can tell, nor are they qualified to since all they do is buy every stock in the land.

          Those funds in turn are held by 401Ks, IRAs and pensions, hedge funds and of course your favorite elite rich people. Are individual Americans liable for corporate executive malfeasance because they are incentivized to invest in a limited selection of 401K funds (or a zero-selection pension fund), and the 401k and pension managers don’t do corporate governance because it’s an expense?

          The banksters and criminexecutives would like us to think so, but I say NO WAY.

          Individuals in this nation have more direct say in their legislature than in corporate governance of their investment holdings, and we’ve seen how corrupt the two-party election scams are. Voters are far more responsible for, say, Trump and his policies than individual investors are for, say, Wells Fargo’s CEO and his policies.

      • raxadian says:

        It wasn’t the only company doing so.

  6. Arizona Slim says:

    Yours Truly has an Android phone. With more than 150 apps, and guess what: I didn’t install most of them. They simply came with the phone.

    I can recall a recent incident when I needed to call 911 and my phone was off. I turned it on, and, guess what, those 150-plus apps just HAD to update. That process took 15 minutes.

    Fortunately, I wasn’t in a life-threatening situation. I was only trying to call to report gunfire nearby. In central Tucson, that happens fairly often.

    Since the phone was in update mode for 15 minutes before I could even get to the opening screen with the “emergency call” link, I decided not to call 911. It was simply too late to make a timely report.

    If I had my druthers, I’d rather have a phone with just a handful of apps. I don’t need all of this Google crud. Especially if if poses a risk to health and safety.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Smart people are starting to abandon “smart” phones.

      Some of us never adopted them in the first place

      • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

        I had a smart phone for less than a week and the experience was so horrible I went back to a (new) flip phone and will not get a smart phone until it’s absolutely unavoidable.

      • Gershon says:

        It never ceases to amaze me how eager the sheeple are to assist Big Brother with his systems of surveillance and control.

        • Mean Chicken says:

          I traded my land line for an android phone for 2 reasons. 1) it was/will be cheaper and 2) I was highly curious.

          Android certainly could use improvement, especially in terms of memory management but considering the OS is free (and open source?) then there has to be some trade offs.

          The nagging auto-update and spy stuff can be disabled to large degree if you have no need for “free” google services or want to manage them yourself but the poor memory management issues are the huge problem Google should be forced to rectify.

          Life is all about turning a profit otherwise where’s the incentive? Thus as an aside for those who don’t want OEM/carrier induced bloat allowed by google, perhaps obtaining your next phone direct from Google will prevent some of that.

    • Ambrose Bierce says:

      I recall the same process with PCs. Some smart guys suggested that you could delete unnecessary programs which were slowing down the processing speed. The problem arises then that some of the links are needed in other programs. So if you remove them your system is impaired. Now I am not saying that Google could attach something to its own apps, but I would not be surprised if removing a Google app had some ramifications.

      • Mean Chicken says:

        Android is pretty much stand alone and you can disable much of the google-related data collection “spyware” if you need. The rub comes with the apps loaded by the carrier, which you wish weren’t there.

        You can add memory for additional document/music/media storage but unfortunately the permanent OS, OEM and carrier-loaded bloatware are restricted to the internal phone memory space so buy a phone with as much unused system memory as possible (upwards of 16GB) else you won’t be able to install any personal apps as you might reasonably anticipate.

        Google need to fix this and if they did the Android bottleneck would disappear. ie: IMO, the real crime is you can’t expand OS memory.

    • polecat says:

      BEVIL is the new $atan

    • Gandalf says:

      Arizona Slim,
      Almost certainly, you got your phone from your cellphone provider, like ATT, probably with a special teaser discounted rate. That stupid bloatware is the price you pay for doing that. They are designed to suck you into generating extra charges.

      Next time, buy your phones from a third party, free of bloatware. I have purchased Samsung phones from BH Photo, as an example. No bloatware. If you want an iPhone, buy direct from Apple, not ATT or your cellphone provider. No bloatware.

      The updates on Android go through the Google Play Store, and there is a setting to turn off automatic updates.

      Once you get used to all the functionality, it’s hard to go back. Google Maps shows you gas station prices, and all the traffic jams along your route. Etc.

      • A Citizen says:

        Android is probably one of the worst operating systems in history. The entire OS is designed to propagate bloatware and is, in fact, virtually unbloatable.

        Want proof? Just study the architecture of the file system.

        • Gandalf says:

          I have both iPhones and Android smartphones and I use both.

          I utterly detest the iPhone’s refusal to let you put in a simple standard SD card, forcing you to pay hundreds of dollars for its built in memory cache. Many features that are simple to accomplish on Android, like finding a voice recording file and downloading it to your PC, are nearly impossible to accomplish on an iPhone, all because iPhones have to keep their stuff proprietary and hidden and on that stupid iCloud. Apple tries to force you store stuff on their iCloud, and above a tiny amount of storage you have to pay STORAGE FEES. Jeez, who the hell wants to do that?

          For some people, like my oldest daughter and S.O., iPhones are great because they are reasonably sturdy and reasonably simple to operate.

          For more technologically astute people, Android is by far more flexible in what it offers and does not force you onto the Cloud. and, like I said, the way to avoid bloatware is to NOT BUY THE PHONE FROM THE CELLPHONE PROVIDER. Simple. Android phones DO NOT come with bloatware if you buy it from a third party like BH Photo.

        • Mean Chicken says:

          The bloatware consumes valuable OS space. The inability to expand OS space or delete bloatware to free up space is the real problem.

          If you get a bloat phone, make sure it has impressive OS space then you can disable bloatware if you don’t want the distraction.

          Or, purchase a bloat-free phone and better yet one with huge OS space (min acceptable of 16GB) and no bloat.

        • Gandalf says:


          Fuchsia is Google’s next gen OS and its raison d’être is to unite Android (cellphones) and Chrome OS (used in laptops) into a single OS and indications are that it is about 5 years off.

      • gunther says:

        My Android phone has 60 apps with 12 installed by me. I bought an unlocked phone directly, not from the network provider.
        Depending on maufacturer the phone may be clean Android or heavly modified.
        Moreover, some phones are easy to root what makes it much easier to put a firewall that prevents some apps from calling home without your consent.

  7. Old dog says:

    Google has let its hubris go to its head. Even the Russian mafia knows that it makes more business sense to work with bureaucrats than to work around them.

    Google’s hubris reminds me of Henry Ford’s famous quote. “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”

  8. Scott says:

    I was thinking about this before the case. I got a new computer a work a few days ago. Chrome is the default browsers. When I try to type a direct URL to a site, Chrome often sends me to a Google results page rather than the site because the site often uses an https (I think). At the top of the page are ads, which many people likely click instead of the organic result. This seems like a clear example of Google making an inferior product in Chrome to sell advertising at the expense of the consumer.

    • Mean Chicken says:

      Chrome Windows browser is a memory hog, too. Web page bloat is causing this, the hard drive swap file can get out of hand if you’re a connoisseur of open tabs.

  9. Marc D. says:

    Microsoft has been hit with very similar lawsuits in the U.S. and Europe since the 1990s, for bundling stuff like search engines with Windows.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      What Microsoft didn’t do is this: first, totally dominate search, online advertising, and search advertising, then bundle its search and online advertising platforms with Windows and its browser. That’s where the money would have been. Microsoft failed to do this. But Google didn’t fail to do this :-]

      • Ambrose Bierce says:

        I have been reading Digital Capitalism, by Schiller, which has only one idea, that neoliberal policy was used to allow computer technology to develop in a market centric fashion. Book does a great job of documenting the history of PCs and the internet, and search engines, who did what to whom.

        • nick kelly says:

          Which Schiller?

          Computer tech of the type we are all using, the microcomputer, came out of nowhere and had absolutely nothing to do with big business OR government.

          It began with a small, very young group of hobbyists like Jobs and Wozniak realizing that the 6502 processor chip in the first hand held calc could be turned into a computer.

          They added memory chips so it had a place to store results and a clock chip. This takes the place of your finger when you punch the = button, but it punched (back then) 14, 000 times per second.

          Last year a lady dropped off a very early Apple at a recycling place. It was built on plywood with “Apple” hand lettered.
          It sold for 175, 000 dollars.
          Years later when the Apple 2 was all cleaned up, in the center of the board was a big chip…still 6502.

          Then there is the MS story. A computer kit called the Altair was for sale around 1974.
          It worked but to program it you had to enter a sting of 0’s and 1’s, i.e., ON and OFF, the only language the processor understood.

          So Altair put out a requirement for a translator program that would let the user enter instructions in the BASIC language and turn them into machine language (O’s and 1’s)

          Bill Gates and gang show up. The receptionist thinks they are the kids of the engineers who must have slipped by her.

          Once inside the meeting, they load their program and type in 2+2. The screen lights up ‘4’
          The execs all smile. No one had seen the machine do anything before.

          Not only did government pay no attention, IBM was dismissive.
          So unconcerned that after hiring Gates to write DOS, they lost interest and GAVE him the program.

          No doubt with the Internet government got involved but it had nothing to do with the birth of the personal computers we are using to comment.

        • Ambrose Bierce says:

          see that’s why you need to read the book. Dan Schiller 99′

        • nick kelly says:

          I looked it up. It is about the development of the Internet, which I agreed involved government. .

          The history of the PC is a different topic and precedes the Internet. The reason I feel strongly about the suggestion that ‘neoliberalism’ or whatever was involved in any way is that the invention is the most significant in at least the last hundred years done with no big money from anyone. Not even research grants.
          For something like this to happen in the age of Big Science is like a throwback to the heroic old days of the Industrial

          I hope it happens again but it probably won’t in our lifetimes.

      • wkevinw says:


        Also the legal standard for monopoly is different in the EU vs. the USA. In the US, it’s all about “harm to the consumer”. This is a difficult (and strange?) standard, when new technology is involved. The new monopoly gets there without real competition- buys them up, nobody wants to compete, etc. So, it’s hard to prove the “negative” in court. There is no competition, so they can’t really compare prices or other evidence in court.

        The monopoly company points to all the wonderful benefits it provides, and continues to have “low prices”, so it’s not really breaking the law in the US.

  10. Kevin Conkle says:

    And yet, 30+ years after, no one is complaining about Microsoft using these same tactics to sell Windows software as an OS. It was pre-loaded. Mfrs received incentive to install it. Hardware designers received incentives to build products to optimize it’s use. Etc, etc, etc…

    This is, indeed, a money grab. It also tends to reinforce the feeling that the EU is in fact hostile to US businesses. At least the Asians will admit that business is war.

    • Gandalf says:

      Microsoft was so good at creating its Windows monopoly that it missed the boat on the next big thing – smartphones. iOS and iPhones took over, competed briefly with Nokia’s Symbian and Blackberry OS and a few others, and then Google saw where things were headed and bought Android and made it the dominant smartphone OS in the world. This was exactly what Bill Gates had done years earlier with MS-DOS first replacing IBM PC-DOS, followed by Windows copying the Macintosh GUI (itself copied from Xerox PARC).

      Microsoft’s response was Windows 8, which was hated by everybody that used it on a desktop, as it tried to force people who were used to keyboards and mice to use their desktops like a cellphone. Desktop sales plummeted as nobody wanted a new desktop preloaded with Win8.

      This happened on Steve “MonkeyBoy” Ballmer’s watch, Gates having retired. Ballmer was a marketer, not a tech guru, and he dropped the ball, just like John Sculley had at Apple decades earlier.

      • A Citizen says:

        Microsoft (and partners) were building the precursor to the so-called smartphone long before Jobs did it, and before Ballmer became CEO. Its one of the few cases where Microsoft had early mover advantage, and, as this was not their culture, they incurred and accepted the early mover penalty: No Market.

        I will refrain from any further commentary as to the veracity of a technology historian with an expressed love for Android OS, apparently unaware that anyone can pull up traffic data from any browser running on any internet connected device – no assistance required from the ever so good and well-meaning folks at Alphabet.

        • Gandalf says:

          A Citizen,
          I don’t love Android. I am well aware of Google’s invasions of privacy and do what I can to evade it.

          If Apple simply allowed me to put in a 128Gb microSD card that I can buy for about $30-40 anywhere, instead of forcing me to pay $100-200 to go from 32Gb to 128Gb PERMANENTLY BUILT INTO the phone, and if it simply allowed me to download whatever files I have accumulated to my PC instead of first having to upload it to iCloud, I would be perfectly happy with it.

          Instead, Apple has this really, really, really , and I MEAN REALLY REALLY ANNOYING tendency to want to do all the thinking for you and to limit your technology choices. Their deletion of the 3.5 mm audio jack on the iPhone 7 was another classic Apple move.

          Oh, so they say, we do this because we’re Apple, and we are Soooooo Coool and SMARTER THAN YOU! WE KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU! If you don’t appreciate our latest Apple products, that means YOU ARE NOT COOL! Apple iOS is more SECURE and privacy sensitive than Android, blah, blah, blah.

          I call bullshit on that.

          Where the hell is the privacy sensitivity in pushing you to upload all your files onto iCloud? Did you not hear of all the celebrities who had their iCloud pictures hacked and spread all over the Internet? The naked pictures only, of course.

          Anybody who wants to hack anything can and will. The FBI hired professional hackers to break into the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C, for example. So much for Apple’s vaunted security.

          Because Android now has a wider and far larger global market share than iOS, hacks and viruses will most likely hit Android first, simply because it’s a bigger target. That has always been true for Mac OS versus Windows also.

          Apple’s arrogance about limiting technology choices while jacking up prices for their proprietary stuff are my top two reasons for detesting Apple as a corporate culture. The third biggest reason would be Apple Groupies, the brain dead Cultists willing to accept and buy anything that Apple pushes out as product.

          However, I do have to hand it to Steve Jobs. Probably the biggest difference between Jobs and Gates, Apple vs. Microsoft, is that Jobs had this powerful Reality Distortion Field which he used to create this Apple Cult and so he was able to convince his Apple Groupies to buy the first iPhones. Yes, it was called the “Jesus Phone” for a reason. That was why the Jesus Phone succeeded and whatever Microsoft was trying to sell failed, fundamentally.

          Whatever, here I am, with an iPhone 6 work phone foisted upon me by the Apple Cultist head of my group. It works fine, takes good pictures. It has the 128Gb built in so I don’t have to upload to iCloud. The battery is dying, though and I’m planning to get it repaired with the $29 Apple Special deal. I recently bought an iPhone SE for my SO after she kept breaking her Android Sony Z5 Compacts. Found a really nice fat silicone rubber cushioned armored case for it on Aliexpress, so hopefully this one will last longer than one year. My oldest daughter bought an iPhone 8, charged to my account, after breaking her iPhone 6. I told her next time she needed to buy a cheaper phone like the SE because she treated phones like they were disposable.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        Gandalf –

        You don’t have to use iCloud. Just sayin’. I don’t, and don’t miss it. Anything I actually want to share, I can share with a few clicks via messaging or email.

        So, no need to rant about it. You can also get your files off the phone with the little data wire that plugs into it, don’cha know?

        No doubt you’ve done all the research and, despite that, haven’t been able to clue yourself in to the Zen of the iPhone, but it’s there.

        • Gandalf says:

          The photos and videos are easy to download off the iPhone either through the Lightning cable or bluetooth/Air Drop. I have used both.

          The one file set that requires a multi-step process are the audio files from an app called Voice Recorder. For some reason, the audio file is saved somewhere in the phone that is not directly accessible through the Lightning plug connection – I have been unable to find it after a lot of searching. Instead, the file has to be shared or sent to another accessible location, of which there are a large range of choices, including iCloud, email, or a separate File folder on the phone. So, it is a multi-step and very, very complicated process. Why not just make the original file accessible directly, like the photos, through the Lightning plug? It’s been easier to just play the audio file back on the phone than to download it.

          And you are wrong about the need to use iCloud. You have to use iCloud to back up your phone settings and apps and contacts since the phone only has one memory set. The backup will also backup the photos which is how all those celebrities found their nude photos posted online.

          Also, this iCloud backup is only free for 5GB. More than that and Apple wants to charge you money.

          On my Android Sony Z5 Compact, the phone has a built in 32Gb memory and a microSD slot in which I put a 128Gb card that cost $50. The backup of phone settings goes from the internal memory to the micro SD card. So, I get daily backups and two copies of the phone settings and contacts, without having to post it to the Internet.

          Yeah, you can defend the Zen of the iPhone all you want, but you obviously have never used an Android phone. I have used both, and you know what? The Android system is easier to use, file handling and transfers are far easier, and the overall ecosystem is far more flexible than iOS and there are a lot more apps available than iOS. My other daughter and son, both computer savvy, use Android Samsungs and prefer them to iPhones.

          As a basic smartphone, the iPhone works fine. Apart from its flaws, it is a nice phone. I have noticed they seem to be especially popular with technically challenged females who like the limited simplicity and the stylish looks and colors.

          And THAT, is the real Zen of the iPhone. Limited simplicity and stylish looks at 1-1/2 to 2 times the price of an Android phone

  11. caradoc says:

    Success will not be tolerated.
    The EU will make sure of that.

    • nick kelly says:

      My impression: that EU anti-trust gal has got more guts than all the US regulators combined.

  12. MCH says:

    I’m curious on what the recourse would be. Perhaps we could get Baidu to replace Google as the search engine of choice in the EU. :)

    After all, Baidu isn’t running a mobile operating system. I’m also really curious what happens if Google just says no to the EU. I know it’ll never happen, but it would be funny as heck to see.

    Right now would be a perfect time for an American company to say no to Europe, because for a short time, there is this guy in the WH who couldn’t care less about what Europe thinks.

    • Rates says:

      Or the Europeans should band together and do an Airbus like consortium to challenge Google.

      Do a one time big project to create a search engine. Afterwards have the citizens pay a monthly fee for its maintenance.

      Absolutely no ads allowed.

      • John says:

        Once upon a time Europeans challenged FORTRAN and created ALGOL.That was pathetic and a source of good laughs.

  13. Matt P says:

    The ruling makes no sense. Because the iphone is more expensive, they aren’t capturing market share. But Android OS is free and nothing forces you to buy an android phone or for the phone manufacturer to install it, so how is Google doing anything illegal?

    • MCH says:

      That was my thought exactly. Google does not have a monopoly. It has market position, but it’s a slippery slope, and it is generating money via secondary effect. Much the same way Microsoft was doing with IE. it certainly isn’t dominant in the ad space as a whole, doesn’t feel right to just sanction them this way.

  14. John says:

    What,me worry ?
    (immortal phrase from MAD magazine)

    This is the first statement issued by Alphabet (Google holding company) about how they will account for this $5B fine in Q2 earning statements:

    The dust will settle a little and they will pay a big f… ZERO.If there is a will (not to pay) there is a way.But by then the public will be preoccupied with another Stormy Daniels or whatever.

    And the impression that the government REALLY cares will linger on in the collective memory.

    It happened with all the multi-B fines imposed on huge corporations in the past 100 years.Maybe you think this time is different ?

    Anyway,gentlemen,let’s watch Alphabet financial statements for the next 5 years.We must learn from the Masters of the Universe.

    • andy says:

      Get real. They will block Google, cause who needs it really, and you will pay dearly since entire US stock market is built on Google and the like.
      I could not care less if Google shuts down tomorrow.

  15. Gershon says:

    As usual, no criminal charges against this creepy company and its officers.

  16. Jarhead John says:

    Ha Ha, Google praising itself—–Virtue Signaling at its best!

  17. TropicalSunset says:

    Good for the EU. Google has way too much power over everyone’s life and way too big of a monopoly.

  18. Exzentrifugal Forz says:

    Why is no-one asking where the $5 Billion will go? Straight into the black hole of Brussels bureaucracy, tax free salaries and pensions, no doubt. Or to finance more crippling legislation like GDPR.

    • EMHO says:

      That’s not true. All salaries of EU staff are taxable, on both EU and national level. Example, the average pre-tax salary for an MEP (2014) was € 8.020,53 per month, after tax salary was
      € 6.250,37 per month. Individual member states can add additional income/withholding taxes on top.
      I am in favour of GDPR, since I value my privacy, you of course don’t have to value yours!
      Next time, please do research before posting.

  19. Unamused says:

    You’re way too serious. You need humor. Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

    “Business ethics.”

    Good one, huh? I crack me up.

    • Mean Chicken says:

      There’s no such thing as business ethics, especially when it comes to government lobbyists, corporate welfare and political kickbacks.

      So many people have no idea of what real hubris is.

  20. Shawn says:

    Google, the glorified ad company that sells your personal data by the gigabyte to the highest bidder. A company that gerrymanders your search results to ensure certain websites never show up in a search query because some external interest payed them money to keep those results hidden. How about it’s cozy relationship with ad blocking companies. So no sympathy here for them. American companies inherently gravitate to monopolistic behaviors. The EU just has better laws in place to combat these behaviors which do real harm to consumers. The same goes for food and drug regulations.

    • Mean Chicken says:

      How many ECB members publish their stock transactions on a regular and transparent basis and where can I obtain the data?

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