In the past few years, the European Union has conducted many antitrust investigations against Google. For example, in the Android antitrust case, the EU antitrust agency fined Google a record of $5 billion, and eventually, Google announced that the Android system for Europe was no longer free. Service charges are currently payable on Android devices purchased by EU users, and manufacturers cannot pre-install services such as the Google Play if they do not pay authorization fees. Correspondingly, Google pre-installs multiple browsers and search engines in the Android system for users to choose. Google Chrome and Google Search are no longer exclusive software.
The European Commission, currently located in Brussels, has revealed that its antitrust agency is conducting a preliminary investigation of Google’s data collection and use. The current investigation is only a preliminary inquiry and therefore does not involve antitrust issues, but the institution that initiated the investigation is indeed the EU’s antitrust regulatory agency. It is not clear why the data protection issue was not initiated by the EU data protection agency, but may be initiated by antitrust agencies when market competition is involved. The European Commission said in a press release that it is inquiring about how the company collects user data and how it uses the collected user data. In an email to Reuters, the European Commission said a preliminary investigation into Google’s data collection and use practices. Currently, it is not a formal antitrust investigation because EU regulators need to obtain a response from Google before evaluating it to determine if there are violations.