Pichai responds to European Union fine, hints Google might start charging for Android

Android may not remain free after EU fine warns Google CEO Pichai

It nearly doubles the €2.42b - about United States dollars $2.8b - that the European Union levied against the company past year over promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of its search results.

As a result, Google has been given 90 days to stop what the European Union said were "illegal practices" on contracts with handset manufacturers that push Google services in front of users. In Google's case, the fine amount would barely put a dent in its coffers, seeing how its parent company, Alphabet Inc., generates the same amount every fortnight.

Made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices.

Prevented Android phone makers from selling devices that run "forked" versions of the operating system.

"These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits", Vestager said.

UK Employment At Record, Pay Growth Slows
But he added: "It is important to remember that unemployment remains, by historical standards, at a low rate". Average earnings increased by 2.5% in the year to May, compared with 2.4% the previous month.

The EU's decision, the second record antitrust fine in as many years against Google, comes amid escalating trade tensions between Europe and the U.S.

Google also reportedly forces smartphone makers to integrate its own apps to their phones, should they wish to offer the Google Play Store on them.

The ruling against Google stipulates that the company will need to unbundle its Chrome and Search apps from Android, which may significantly change the free business model the tech giant has been pursuing with the mobile OS.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google Inc., called the fine a "competition decision against Android" and that the EU's decision ignores the fact that Android phones are in competition with Apple's iPhones. "But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms", Pichai concludes.

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