President Donald Trump on Thursday waded into the dispute between Google and the European Union's antitrust regulator, the European Commission, suggesting unfairness in the Commission's $5.05 billion fine against Google announced this week.
On Twitter, President Trump appeared to connect the Commission's fine against Google for alleged antitrust violations with his concerns about relations with Europe on issues such as trade tariffs and NATO defense contributions.
"I told you so!" Trump tweeted, saying that the European Union has "slapped" a $5 billion fine on "one of our great companies"--before going on to imply that the Google fine is evidence for his case that the EU behaves unfairly toward the United States.
"They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!" Trump tweeted.
I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
The European Commission declined to comment in an email to CRN. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Commission on Wednesday announced the record $5.05 billion fine as a response to Google "breaching EU antitrust rules" by imposing "illegal restrictions" on Android device makers and mobile network operators, allegedly aimed at bolstering Google's search engine.
Among the practices under scrutiny are a requirement that device makers pre-install Google's search app and Chrome browser app, in exchange for being able to include access to the Google Play Store on devices, according to the Commission.
Google makes the source code for its Android operating system open and freely available to device makers. Roughly 80 percent of devices in Europe and worldwide run Android, according to the Commission.
The organization's commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement that Google "has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine."
The Commission said that Google must end the practices in question within 90 days or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of the average daily revenues of its parent company, Alphabet.
In a statement Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company intends to appeal the European Commission decision.
The decision "ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones," he said, while missing "just how much choice Android provides" to device makers, mobile operators, developers and consumers.
Additionally, Pichai suggested that Google may begin to charge device makers for using Android if the European Commission decision is allowed to stand.
"So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model," Pichai said. However, he added, "we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms."