European Union antitrust regulators seek expert help in Google Android case

European Union antitrust regulators seek expert help in Google Android case

European Union antitrust regulators seek expert help in Google Android case

European Union antitrust regulators are weighing another record fine against Google over its Android mobile operating system and have set up a panel of experts to give a second opinion on the case, two people familiar with the matter said. The announcement concluded a seven-year investigation by the EC, but Google said it disagreed with the ruling and is considering an appeal.

This particular case was lodged in April 2016 following a complaint from the lobby group FairSearch, ad blocking and privacy firm Disconnect Inc. and Russian search engine company Yandex, which accuse Google of using Android's dominance to shut out rival services, Reuters said. The European Commission could force Google to offer the Play Store without any other requirements for Google apps, something that financial analyst Richard Windsor tells Reuters could trigger a decline in other Google services.

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The potential fine is expected to top that 2.4 billion euro penalty. They are still ongoing, telecoms industry sources said.

Experts say the case could potentially harm Google even more than last month's record fine, as Android has a much bigger growth potential. "Google is hurting Android users, including by surreptitiously commandeering ever-increasing amounts of personal data", Vinje said.

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Included in the investigation is Google's policy of forcing smartphone manufacturers to install Google Search and the Google Chrome web browser on Android-powered phones in exchange for access to other Google apps.

Google is also accused of barring smartphone makers from using alternative versions of Android, along with paying manufacturers and mobile service providers to exclusively install Google Search on their devices.

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This peer review panel, sometimes called a devil's advocate, is typically comprised of three to four experienced officials tasked with combing over the case team's conclusions before a final decision is made.

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