Monday 15 October 2018

Google fine may hurt consumers, warns Irish tech industry group

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined Google after finding it had used its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals. Photo: Reuters
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined Google after finding it had used its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals. Photo: Reuters
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The Irish business body Ibec says the latest European Commission fine of a major technology employer here risks unintended consequences, including "less European innovation, less competition and higher prices".

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager yesterday fined Google €4.3bn after finding it had used its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals. Google has said it will appeal the decision - the latest in a series of actions against the company.

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Ms Vestager is best known for slapping a €13bn back-tax bill on Apple two years ago. Yesterday she denied any anti-American bias.

"I very much like the US," she said at a news conference to announce the Google fine, when asked about a remark by US President Donald Trump, inset, that she "hated" the country, reportedly made at a G7 summit last month.

Google employs around 7,000 people in Ireland, making it, along with Apple, one of the biggest private sector employers in the State.

It is a member of Ibec's Technology Ireland group.

Una Fitzpatrick, Director of Technology Ireland, said consumers benefit from Google's cheap access to Android mobile phone technology.

"Android gives people access to mobile technology that was previously out of reach."

"Consumer choice, fostering innovation and nurturing competition are cornerstones of a successful economy. It is right to ensure that these principles are upheld," she said.

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