5 things to know about Google's antitrust battle in the EU

The European Commission on Wednesday charged Google with antitrust violations, saying the technology and search engine giant unfairly favors its own apps and products, thereby limiting fair competition with other companies.

Here are five things to know about the charges on Google.

1. In a fact sheet, the European Commission said a key concern is the rate of pre-installed Google apps on devices. The European Commission's investigation found Google "obliges" manufacturers who want to pre-install Google Play, the company's app store, on their devices and requires them to pre-install Google Search. Additionally, manufacturers who want to pre-install Google Play or Google Search must also pre-install Google's Chrome browser. "Google has ensured that Google Search and Google Chrome are pre-installed on the significant majority of devices sold in the [European Economic Area]," according to the fact sheet, which indicates Google's market share in the EEA reaches 90 percent.

2. Google's market dominance heightens barriers to entry for competitors, and these barriers protect Google's position, according to the fact sheet. These barriers produce network effects — the phenomenon when more consumers use an operating system, more developers write apps for that system — and barriers to consumers wanting to switch to other operating systems, such as costs, losing apps and losing data.

3. The European Commission also alleges Google's anti-fragmentation violates the EU's antitrust rules. Google's Android is an open source system, but Google places certain conditions on using its apps and services on Android devices, which are not open source, according to the European Commission. The fact sheet reports Google requires manufacturers who want to pre-install Google proprietary apps to enter an "Anti-Fragmentation Agreement," which prohibits the manufacturer from selling devices that use Android operating systems modified using Android's open source code.

"Google's conduct has had a direct impact on consumers, as it has denied them access to innovative smart mobile devices based on alternative, potentially superior, versions of the Android operating system," according to the fact sheet.

4. If Google is found to be in violation of the EU's antitrust rules, it could face fines of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, which equates to approximately $7 billion, according to The New York Times.

5. Google says it has not broken antitrust rules and that business dealings with competitors are voluntary. "We believe that our business model keeps manufacturers' costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices," Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, told NYT in a statement.

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