EU fines Google 4.3Bn€ for Android monopoly, and it’s a good thing.

Today, we learned that the European Union has fined Google a record amount of 4.3Bn€, for illegal practises with their Android smartphone operating system.

In particular, Android is shipping pre-installed with the Google Chrome web-browser pre-installed by default, and Google search enabled by default, on every Android device.

This makes Google in a situation of monopoly on Android smartphones.

Google’s CEO has threatened that Android could not be free anymore for smartphone makers if it cannot include the Google apps pre-installed.

But the reality is really worse than that

Besides Apple, that owns about 13% of the smartphone market, the only real other choice is Android.

And not only Android has Google Chrome enabled by default, Google search everywhere, but it also has Google Play enabled by default.

This means that in an Android smartphone, Google is present at all levels of the system stack:

  • operating system
  • application store
  • web browser
  • search

And of course, advertizing.

Users are doing searches with Google, and they purchase applications, videos, music… at Google Play. They are totally locked in the Google ecosystem, that is catching all the economical value, while logging all user’s data permanently.

Hardware makers have no choice, users have no choice

And hardware makers have no choice: since I have started the /e/ project I got in touch with several smartphone makers. They all confirmed that in order to distribute Android, they are forced to sign several agreements with Google, that:

  • force them to have Google search and Chrome pre-installed by default on the device
  • prevent them to sell smarpthones that would embed modified versions of Android

We need a more respectful and more ethical ecosystem!

Hey Google, you make Billions $$$, but you have grown too big:

  • you are in a situation of monopoly: competitors cannot exist
  • you are catching all the economical value
  • you are stealing user’s private data.

So, why not at least just allow smartphone makers to:

1- pre-install applications of their choice

2- preinstall the web-browser of their choice and search engine of their choice


You would still make a lot of $$$, but maybe people would be a little less angry at you.

In my own case, I had a life with computers and Internet before you were born, and I think it was a better and more exiting internet, with more respect of people, and more privacy on my data.

So I’m going to continue to work on the /e/ project to bring something better, more open and more ethical. We really need it more than ever.

— Gaël (follow me on Twitter / on Mastodon)

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