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On Wednesday, US internet giant Google was hit with a $5 billion fine by the European Union.

European Union also ordered Google to halt anti-competitive practices in deals with smartphone makers and telecoms providers within 90 days or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of parent Alphabet's average daily worldwide turnover, Reuters reported.

The EU penalty is likely to exceed the 2017 fine because of the broader scope of the Android case, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

"Google can brush [the fine] off without an enormous amount of difficultly", said Richard Windsor, founder of the tech research firm Radio Free Mobile.

The Commission decision concerns three specific types of contractual restrictions that Google has imposed on device manufacturers and mobile network operators.

"No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules - they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks", Pichai writes. The EU's politically independent executive arm did mention that "as a licensable operating system, Android is different from operating systems exclusively used by vertically integrated developers (like Apple iOS or Blackberry)".

This amount is nearly double that of a previous fine of $2.7 billion the company received in 2017 for unfairly favoring its own services in internet search results.

For two years, a team of 100 engineers at Google have secretly been working on the successor to Android, the operating system that powers three quarters of the world's smartphones, according to a Bloomberg report published Thursday.

It also said Google broke the law by forcing manufacturers that took its apps to commit to not selling devices that use altered versions of Android.

"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less", said Google spokesman Al Verney.

"Separating Google's search engine from its commercial activities is necessary to restore level playing field", said Ramon Tremosa, a member of the European Parliament. However, this is not the first time that Google is facing such a hefty penalty.

"This will enable consumers to benefit from a greater choice of mobile services, and allow more players to innovate and offer new services in the market", said the GSMA's chief regulatory officer John Giusti.

"Hence, I think separating Google Play from the rest of Google´s Digital Life services would have very little impact as users would simply download and install them from the store", Windsor said.

Depending on your point of view, Margarethe Vestager is either the only global regulator really standing up to arrogant American tech giants - or a busybody trying to hobble innovative businesses because Europe can't build its own.


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