Technology giant Google said it was to appeal the European Commission's decision on Wednesday to impose on it a fine of 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion) for alleged illegal practices linked to Android mobile devices in a bid to strengthen the dominance of its renowned search engine.
Margrethe Vestager, the EC's competition commissioner, said that Google utilized three types of illegal restrictions on the use of Android as a means of cementing the market dominance of the Google search engine _ thus denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete _ which she said was unlawful according to the EU's antitrust legislation, something that Google denied.
"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less," said Al Verney, Google spokesman. "A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust consequences. We will appeal the Commission’s decision."
The EC said in a statement that Google was now obliged to end its illegal practices within a period of 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company.
Commissioner Vestager said mobile internet today accounted for over 50 percent of global internet traffic.
"It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans," she said, adding, "our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine."
The commission said that market dominance was not by itself illegal under EU antitrust rules.
However, it added that dominant companies had a responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by illegally restricting competition.
The commission said that the technology giant had breached EU rules through the illegal tying of Google's search and browser apps, by imposing illegal payments conditional on exclusive pre-installation of Google Search and by illegal obstruction of development and distribution of competing Android operating systems.
The Commission said that further action was still possible as it continued to investigate restrictions Google had placed on the ability of some third-party websites to display search presentations from Google's competitors, citing the example of what it referred to as the AdSense case.
"In July 2016, the Commission came to the preliminary conclusion that Google has abused its dominant position in a case concerning AdSense," it said.