The Financial Times reports that tight deadlines given to four lawyers suggest that the European Commission’s Android anti-trust case against Google could see formal charges finalized this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.
Four lawyers involved in the case said on Thursday that the European Commission had, over recent days, sent out requests for information from complainants with 24-hour deadlines […]
One person close to the commission said it was likely that Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, could publicly deliver a statement of objections — or formal charge sheet — as early as Wednesday next week, although the process could still take slightly longer.
Assuming charges are filed, it will be the EC’s second antitrust case against Google. After previously finding Google guilty of abusing its dominance in search to promote its own services over those of competitors, the Commission began a second investigation. This one is focused on whether Google uses its control of Android to force smartphone manufacturers to favor its own apps over rival ones.
In its statement last year, the commission said: “The majority of smartphone and tablet manufacturers . . . use the Android operating system in combination with a range of Google’s proprietary applications and services. In order to obtain the right to install these applications and services on their Android devices, manufacturers need to enter into certain agreements with Google.”
If Google was charged and the eventual ruling goes against the company, the potential penalty could be severe: the Commission has the power to fine Google up to 10% of its revenue, which would amount to more than $7B.