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Leonid Bershidsky

Apple Deserves an EU Fine, Too

Google isn’t the only tech giant with anticompetitive practices. 

Margrethe Vestager is cracking down.

Margrethe Vestager is cracking down.

Photographer: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

The European Commission had solid antitrust reasons for fining Google 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) for violations including the bundling of certain apps with the Android operating system — and for not going after Apple for similar behavior. Yet, from a consumer’s point of view, Apple should get the same kind of attention.

The most important infraction by Google in the EU ruling is the “illegal tying” of its search and browser apps to the Android operating system. The search giant, the ruling said, made Android phonemanufacturers preinstall its search and browser applications if they wanted to provide access to the Google Play Store, where almost all Android users get their apps. That, according to the European Commission, reduced the ability of other search providers and browser developers to compete because preinstallation creates a “status-quo bias”: Users are too lazy to research alternatives to apps that are already on their new phones.