A day after the European Union slammed Google with a record $5 billion fine, President Donald Trump fired back as tensions continue to build toward a full-blown trade war.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager hit Google with the fine Wednesday for violating its antitrust laws by forcing cellphone makers using the company’s Android operating system to install other Google browser apps and Google search.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager hit the company with the fine Wednesday for violating EU antitrust laws by forcing cellphone makers using the company’s Android operating system to install other Google browser apps and Google search. After a three-year investigation, the EU said the company’s practices restrict competition, reducing choices for consumers.
The penalty comes a year after regulators imposed a $2.8 billion fine on Google for favoring its shopping lists in search results.
Trump tweeted the EU is once again taking advantage of a U.S. company, adding “but not for long!”
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
Google parent company Alphabet made $9.4 billion in profit the first three months of the year, and have more than $100 billion in cash reserves.
Trump’s tweet comes as trade tensions begin to mount between the U.S. and its biggest trading partners, growing closer to a full-blown trade war seemingly each day. This also isn’t the first time an American tech giant has been hit hard by Vestager and the EU.
In August 2016, the commission nailed Apple with a record-breaking $16 billion fine for back taxes owed to Ireland. Vestager said Apple received special treatment from the country that cut its tax bill by billions of dollars from 2003 to 2014 — which Ireland itself disputes.
Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told Reuters and the Financial Times in 2016 he “fundamentally disagrees with the ruling,” and both Ireland and Apple are appealing the ruling. Court proceedings will likely begin this fall.
To Trump, who called the EU a trade “foe” just last week, the latest fine for Google looks like retaliation for his proposed tariffs, including additional auto and auto parts tariffs the administration is currently considering imposing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.