Reports out today from the The Wash­ing­ton Post and Reuters say that the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (EC) is ready­ing a sec­ond multi­bil­lion-euro fine against Google par­ent Alpha­bet. Beyond the fine, the EC will like­ly demand changes in the company’s rules for phone mak­ers using Android.

Cur­rent­ly, Android hand­set mak­ers, such as Sam­sung, must com­ply with cer­tain require­ments sur­round­ing pre-instal­la­tion of select­ed Google apps (e.g., search, maps, YouTube) if they want to pro­vide access to the Google Play app store. The EC regards this prac­tice as anti-com­pet­i­tive. Google also faced a sim­i­lar though less cost­ly rebuke in Rus­sia over the same issue.

While noth­ing is cer­tain until for­mal announce­ments are made, if Google is com­pelled to dis­con­tin­ue app pre-instal­la­tion rules, it remains to be seen how the com­pa­ny and its ser­vices will be impact­ed. My guess would be not much.

Years ago, Microsoft was required to stop bundling its Explor­er brows­er with its Win­dows oper­at­ing sys­tem and give con­sumers “brows­er choice.” Google has reject­ed this com­par­i­son in the past. How­ev­er, some­thing sim­i­lar might be required here.

For exam­ple, a set­up process might ask peo­ple to choose a search engine or a map­ping appli­ca­tion from among sev­er­al com­peti­tors. In such a hypo­thet­i­cal sce­nario, Google could still win because its apps are high­ly suc­cess­ful and bet­ter known than com­peti­tors’ in most cas­es. Alter­na­tive­ly, no search engine or map­ping or video apps might be pre-installed. In anoth­er sce­nario, device mak­ers could poten­tial­ly sell “default” app slots to the high­est bid­der as a way to gen­er­ate addi­tion­al rev­enue for them­selves.

If a new fine comes to pass, it will be the sec­ond major penal­ty suf­fered by Google in two EU antitrust cas­es. A third poten­tial action in Europe is still pend­ing over AdWords con­tracts.

Last year, Google was fined more than $2.7 bil­lion for “abuse of mar­ket posi­tion” in shop­ping search. Yelp is now seek­ing to have the EC extend the log­ic of that deci­sion into the are­na of local search.

Google is appeal­ing the first penal­ty and could sim­i­lar­ly appeal any adverse out­come in the Android case. How­ev­er, it will be required in the inter­im to com­ply with the EC’s direc­tive and make changes. The com­pa­ny has main­tained that its prac­tices are designed ulti­mate­ly for the ben­e­fit of con­sumers and are not anti-com­pet­i­tive.

US pres­i­dent Trump’s vis­it to Europe is like­ly to delay any announce­ment until after its con­clu­sion, accord­ing to the reports.

The post Report: Sec­ond big EU antitrust fine against Google com­ing next week appeared first on Mar­ket­ing Land.

Source link