Google is currently in a legal battle, facing a stiff fine imposed by the European Commission over violating antitrust rules. Because Google required Android manufacturers to utilize Google apps and functions as the dominant program on the phone, the commission has said Google is in violation of EU antitrust rules.
Google attempts to appeal this order under the claim that users could have easily uninstalled the software for different navigation options. The EC ordered the company pay a stiff $5 billion fine.
“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation, and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition,” claimed a Google spokesperson.
In response, the EC competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, claimed that Google is stopping competition from forming in the first place through its illegal manipulation of Android manufacturers.
This comes after a fine imposed on Google last year under similar circumstances. The tech giant reportedly abused its shopping service. The appeal for that suit is still pending.
However, this could spell disaster for Android users.
If Google is unable to appeal the EC’s decision, Google will have to unbundle the Google apps and features associated with Android. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, claims that this bundle is the main way that Android has remained a free business.
“So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven’t had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model, but we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have stuck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms,” wrote Pichai.
This implies that Android will have to be licensed to phone manufacturers, resulting in increased costs.
When consumers already have to pay for the cost of the phone, the data usage, and a consumer plan, this can mean hikes in price that few can afford.
However, the current process may take a long time to settle, now that Google has filed an appeal. While most personal injury cases — nearly 95% — are settled quickly in pretrial, these types of legal cases can last much longer. The EC is also still investigating Google and its business practices, including its search advertisements.
Google’s relationship with Android technologies will ultimately change if the EC wins the battle, but it will likely take a long time to process.
It’s unknown whether or not this fine will affect the employees currently working for the company. When 2.7 million Americans across the country left their jobs voluntarily in 2015, this was a 25% increase compared to the two previous years. Now that Google is under stress from the EU, workers might want to leave if there are budget cuts.
If Google doesn’t make changes to its business practices before their 90-day window imposed by the EC, they might face additional fines.