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Report – Google could face another record fine as EU panel considers Android case

Last week, Google was hit with a record €2.4 billion fine over what the EU identified as preferencing of its Shopping service in search results, and it seems there’s more to come.

The company said at the time that it “respectfully disagreed” with the ruling, but a Reuters report claims EU antitrust regulators are considering yet another record fine for the US company, this time in relation to its Android mobile operating system.

The firm is being investigated for alleged contravention of the EU’s antitrust law, with the investigation focusing on three areas: the Shopping service, Google’s AdSense business, and deals the company makes with Android phone-makers.

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Now, Reuters cites “two people familiar with the matter” as claiming the EU antitrust regulators have established a panel of experts to give a second opinion on whether the proposed fine will actually be levied.

If the panel agrees with the regulators, the European Union could make a decision by the end of the year, according to the report.

This particular branch of the overall investigation concerns Google allegedly using its Android mobile OS to shut out rivals.

It began following a complaint by lobby group FairSearch, U.S. and could result in a fine even larger than the €2.4 billion Google was ordered to pay just last week.

The European Commission levied the fine, stating Google had “abused its dominant position by systematically favouring” its own Shopping price comparison service.

Neither Google or the European Commission has commented on the possible forthcoming fine related to the Android investigation at this point.

The EU is investigating Google’s requirement for smartphone makers to include Google Search and the Google Chrome browser as standard on their devices.

These companies then gain access to Google’s other apps, and must refrain from using rival versions of Android.

On top of that, Google is accused of paying these manufacturers and mobile network operators to install only Google Search on their products.

Following last week’s ruling on the Shopping aspect of the investigation, Google stated it “respectfully disagrees,” stating in a blog post that it was considering an appeal as it reviews the decision.

The company added: “We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections.

“While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data show that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches.

“…Given the evidence, we respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today.”

Let us know what you think of the investigation in the comments.

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