In a move that many had expected, President Trump lashed out over Twitter in response to Brussels’ decision to slap Google with an record €4.3bn ($5 billion) antitrust fine, exclaiming “I told you so!” before suggesting that the move was further evidence that the EU had “taken advantage of the U.S., 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
On Wednesday, in a long-awaited move, Google parent Alphabet was slapped with the record fine and ordered to change the way it installs search and web browser apps onto Android mobile devices. The company was given until mid-October to stop the “illegal practices” as the EU phrased it, on their contracts with handset manufacturers. Failure to comply will result in a 5% fine on revenue.
The penalty, which is equal to the amount the Netherlands kicks into the EU budget each year, is higher than any other punishment dished out by the US, Chinese or other antitrust authorities – while the US is unlikely to match the European Union’s fine.
While new FTC Chairman Joseph Simons told Congress on Wednesday that the agency will review the EU findings closely – the same agency ended a similar probe of Google several years ago.
President Trump’s comments precede European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to Washington next week amid heightened tensions over trade and Russia. The comments also follow a contentious NATO summit where Trump derided EU countries for not paying their fair share of the budget.