Google has been fined 4.34 billion euros by the European Union. Photo: iStock

The European Union hit Google with a €4.34 billion (US$5 billion) fine for abusing the dominance of its Android operating system on Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reported. It is the largest antitrust penalty in the bloc’s history.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the American Internet behemoth illegally used Android’s near-monopoly to increase usage of its own search engine and browser.

“Today the commission has decided to fine Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules,” Vestager told a press conference in Brussels. “Google has engaged in illegal practices to cement its dominant market position in Internet search.”

Vestager, who has targeted multiple Silicon Valley giants as EU antitrust chief, said Google “must put an effective end to this conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments” of up to 5% of its average daily turnover.

The new sanction nearly doubles the previous record EU anti-trust fine of €2.4 billion, which targeted Google’s shopping comparison service in 2017.

Google said it would appeal the fine.

“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” Google spokesman Al Verney said in a statement. “A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. We will appeal the commission’s decision.”