Google is facing possible record-breaking fines from European regulators over its Android policies. This stems from the practice of Google requiring their search engine and apps to be bundled with Android phones. Without bundling these apps and using Google as the default search option your phone would lose access to the coveted Play Store.
It is because of this policy, that the European Union (EU) competition chief Margrethe Vestager is expected to impose a fine on Google that could reach into the billions. The EU fine is one thing, but it could also have further reaching consequences, such as requiring Google to change their approach to Android.
If you’re wondering why Apple doesn’t see such scrutiny over iOS and the bundling of their apps or services. This is in part because Apple is the only company who makes devices running iOS.
To alter this policy, would mean a substantial change to Google’s business model when it comes to Android. Google would have less influence over which apps you use and would be unable to collect as much data on your searches to serve you ads.
At its core, Google is an ad company and understanding its users and collecting as much data as possible gives them a huge advantage. This is why Google offers handset makers Android for free guaranteeing its dominance over any other mobile OS. It is also why Google can afford to put so much research and money into Android while providing it for free.
In their defense, Android is one of the most open, flexible, and widely used operating systems in the world. Google also says that requiring these apps helps keep the Android experience consistent across devices.
The EU has some of the strongest regulations for consumer privacy and competition in the digital age. If Vestager is successful in this pursuit, it could open up the doors to Google and Android being under more scrutiny in the United States. The EU fine could force them to rethink their strategy with Android and requiring them to change their business model.