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Photo: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

The European Union hit Google with a massive $5 billion antitrust fine Wednesday for abusing the dominance of Android.

Why it matters: It's the biggest EU antitrust fine targeting Google in history. The size of the fine is meant to curb Google's dominance over mobile phones, one of its biggest areas of growth.

The fine is the latest action by the EU to target the dominance of one of the world's most powerful companies. The EU fined Google $2.7 billion last summer for abusing its dominance as a search engine to steer customers to its own Google Shopping platform.

European Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager announced the decision Wednesday. In a statement, the Commission requires Google to bring its illegal conduct to an end in an effective manner within 90 days of the decision.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Google is being fined for using its dominant Android mobile operating system to disadvantage competitors. For example, last year the European Commission accused Google of requiring smartphone manufacturers to pre-install its search engine and browser.

The three missteps: The European Commission says Google's practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in mobile. And above all, their practices were illegal because:

  1. Google "required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store);"
  2. Google "made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices."
  3. Google "has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks")."

The big picture: U.S. tech titans are facing rising scrutiny in Europe, whose regulators are becoming more aggressive in trying to constrain the tech giants that dominate the global economy. A string of heavy fines against Google over the past year or so represents rising tensions between E.U. regulators and U.S. tech giants.

What's next: Google is likely to appeal the decision, having rejected the EU's assertion of dominance pertaining to this case earlier this year and having tried to appeal the EU's last fine over its search dominance last year.

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Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he'll be blind for a month after eye surgery

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said in a statement Saturday he will be blind for roughly a month after getting surgery to reattach the retina in left eye.

Why it matters: Crenshaw, who lost his right eye and sustained severe damage to his left eye during his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, said he will be "pretty much off the grid for the next few weeks."