Google CEO responds to EU fines: Android might not remain free

Yesterday, the EU imposed a record fine of 4.34 billion euros because Google violated the anti-monopoly law. The EU believes that Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators since 2011, strengthening its monopoly in the search market. Google must change this behaviour within 90 days, otherwise, its parent company Alphabet will face a fine of up to 5% of the global average daily turnover.

Let us first look at the three core claims of the EU in the ruling :

  1. Google illegally binds Google’s search and browser application 
  2. Google’s illegal financial incentives: exclusive pre-installation of Google search 
  3. Google unlawfully hinders the development and distribution of competitors’ Android operating system

Google CEO Sundar Pichai did not respond to the three core claims in the EU ruling in response, and the response was feeble. However, he emphasised the fact that ordinary Android users install on average about 50 apps on Android phones and can uninstall pre-installed software, but if Google’s built-in apps are not allowed, it will damage the entire Android ecosystem. Pichai also said that Android’s free business model is dependent on the services of this built-in application. Therefore, Pichai said that the EU’s decision today will undermine the long-standing balance of the Android ecosystem, and will change the business model of Android, which sends a signal that is beneficial to proprietary systems rather than open systems.

Also, Pichai also said that although the phones manufactured by major companies are different, they all have one thing in common – they can run the same application regardless of the size or shape of the device. This is due to the rules that ensure technical compatibility. But they don’t force phone makers to sign these rules — they can use or modify Android in whatever way they want, just as Amazon uses it for Fire tablets and TV sticks.

Finally, Sundar Pichai said that Google would appeal to the European Union’s decision on punishment.

Check out the full response from Google CEO here.