European Union antitrust regulators have accused Google of abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system in deals with phone makers and mobile network operators. As Ivor Bennett reports, it's the latest in a string of EU actions to target U.S. tech firms.
The chances are, four of these five phones run on Android. That's how dominant Google's operating system is. But it's a position the EU says is being abused. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMPETITION COMMISSIONER, MARGRETHE VESTAGER, SAYING: "What we found is that Google pursue an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in Internet search." According to the EU, Google has been requiring phone makers and network operators to pre-install devices with its own apps. Things like Google Maps, its Chrome browser and Google Search. The EU says this is stifling competition, accusing Google, in some cases, of giving financial incentives to manufacturers. It's not the first time Google's been in trouble with Brussels. It's already facing charges of promoting its own shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival products. That case has been dragging on since 2010. And they're not alone. Qualcomm, Amazon, and Apple making up a long line of US tech giants the EU has gone after. SOUNDBITE (English) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "I think certainly some European politicians would like to reduce the domination of the tech sector from the US corporate space. And in a sense you could argue that for some, using antitrust legislation, or something similar, is a way to cut these behemoths down to size." It certainly looks that way for Google. Ad sales on its Android apps generated an estimated 11 billion dollars last year. but it may now be forced to change that model. And stump up a hefty fine, potentially as much as 7.4 billion dollars.