President Donald Trump is coming to the defense of Google after the European Union hit the Internet search giant with a $5 billion fine over antitrust behavior with its Android operating system.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Trump took to Twitter to express dismay about the EU fine, tweeting that the move shows the EU has “taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!” The report noted that Trump views the fine as further evidence that Europe is exploiting the U.S. in trade, defense spending and regulations. A spokeswoman for the European Commission declined to comment on the tweet out of the White House but noted that with EU Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker coming to Washington D.C. July 25 it could be a “good opportunity” to discuss the matter. The tweet from Trump should be welcome news to technology companies that have been trying to get out from under increased scrutiny on the part of EU investigators, noted the report.
The EU fine Google stems from an inquiry by antitrust regulators at the European Union into whether or not Google abused its position with the Android OS, which is on more than 80 percent of the smartphones around the globe, by favoring its own mobile apps and services including its search engine. Google has the right to appeal the fine. Google argues that its OS, which manufacturers don’t have to pay to install on mobile devices, actually boosted competition among smartphones and resulted in lower prices. It also said the allegation that it hurt third-party apps by highlighting its own is untrue because manufacturers install all sorts of apps on the devices and consumers have the option to download any apps they want.
While Trump is expressing dismay with the fine, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons told lawmakers Wednesday (July 18) that he will look at the European Union’s move to fine Google $5 billion for antitrust violations pertaining to the Android mobile operating system. Reuters, citing comments Simons made during a hearing in front of lawmakers, reported the FTC head said he spoke with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager about the fine earlier in the week. “We’re going to read what the EU put out very closely,” Simons told a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, according to Reuters.