The Google logo is reflected in a man’s eyeball. The European Union started a flame war when it fined the US firm $5 billion for monopoly violations. (File photo)
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday after Brussels hit US tech giant Google with a record fine, and warned he would no longer allow Europe to take “advantage” of the United States.
“I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google,” Trump tweeted in reaction to the €4.34 billion (168 billion baht) penalty imposed on Google for abusing the dominance of its mobile operating system.
“They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!” he said.
I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
In announcing the fine on Wednesday, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager accused Google of using the Android system’s near-stranglehold on smartphones and tablets to promote the use of its own Google search engine while shutting out rivals.
The decision, which followed a three-year EU investigation, comes as fears of a transatlantic trade war mount because of President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.
The new sanction nearly doubles the previous record EU antitrust fine of €2.4 billion, which also targeted Google, in that case for the Silicon Valley titan’s shopping comparison service in 2017.
Denmark’s Vestager ordered Google to “put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.
The Google decision came one week before European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was due to travel to the United States for crucial talks with the American president on the tariffs dispute and other issues.
Google chief Sundar Pichai immediately said the firm would appeal.
“Today’s decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal,” he said in a blog post.
Google provides Android free to smartphone manufacturers and generates most of its revenue from selling advertisements that appear along with search results.
The EU says Android is used on around 80 percent of mobile devices, both in Europe and worldwide.
The Android case originated when a lobbying group called FairSearch — with members then including huge tech companies like Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle — complained that Google was unfairly tilting the field of competition.
Google’s parent company Alphabet ranked as the fifth largest information technology company in the world in 2017, with global revenue of $111 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
That figure represented a doubling in global revenue in only four years.