Google’s EU woes open up opportunities for app developers

Google is expected to face an antitrust fine over Android in the coming days that could top last year’s record $2.8 billion penalty.

Google dominates mobile search in Europe, with 97% of the market, while its Chrome web browser has a 64% market share on mobile.

Neighbourhood Technology Desk/Avi Arya: Google’s latest European Union woes could mean opportunity knocks for app developers through contracts that pre-install the US giant’s own services on Android phones and tablets, according to the analysts and companies. Alphabet Inc. unit is expected to face an antitrust fine over Android in the coming days that could top last year’s record 2.4 billion-euro ($2.8 billion) penalty for shutting out rivals to its shopping search service.

The EU’s investigation targets contracts that require smartphone makers who want to install Google’s Play store to add a bundle of Google services, including search, web browser, email and mapping. EU officials worry that users stick with the default they get on their phones. Google also argues that its actions to police the Android ecosystem and prevent multiple versions of Android — also part of the EU probe — help app developers to make products that work across millions of devices. Giving away Android for free also helps reduce smartphone costs, it said. Google relies instead on advertising to make money from Android.

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