Update: Google complies with EU Commission, will inform users of browser choices
Update: Google received another fine this morning from the European Commission, amounting to €1.5 billion, and being related to its AdSense business. EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google was abusinve in using its dominant position by forcing customers to refuse adverts from its rivals.
The European Commission, in July last year, decided that Google needs to pay a €4.34 billion fine as the Android-maker was found in breach of antitrust law. The Commission found that Google’s condition for phone manufacturers to supply its Chrome browser in order to have the Google Play Store on phones was illegal. This lead to a Play Store block-out for those manufacturers who used a non-standard version (fork) of Android.
After the Commission’s July 2018 decision, we changed the licensing model for the Google apps we build for use on Android phones, creating new, separate licenses for Google Play, the Google Chrome browser, and for Google Search. In doing so, we maintained the freedom for phone makers to install any alternative app alongside a Google app.
Furthermore, says Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs, in a blog post, Google will “ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choice of browsers and search engines available to download to their phones“. While users were, and are able to use any browser they want, either pre-installed or not, many have not been aware of the possibility. In other cases, users simply went with what the phone came pre-installed with, which, in many cases, was Google Chrome.
If you are in Europe, expect Google to inform you about the choices that you have, moving forward, when using an Android-based phone.