The EU opened a new front against Google on Wednesday, slapping the US giant with anti-trust charges alleging it had abused the dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system. The charges are a massive blow to one of the Google's most strategic businesses and could alter a global smartphone sector that is fast taking over traditional PCs as the biggest segment in the world of computing. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Silicon Valley giant Google had used practices such as making manufacturers pre-install its market-leading search engine as the default in phones. "The preliminary conclusions from our investigations is that these practices breach EU competition law," Vestager, a former Danish economy minister, told a press conference. She said Brussels believed that "Google has abused its dominant position", adding: "We have found that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in Internet search." The case is the second attack by the EU against Google after Vestager last year formally charged the company for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in Europe. Taking both EU cases against Google together, the company risks a fine of 10 percent of worldwide global sales for one year, which would amount to a $7.4 billion fine on the basis of 2015 revenues. In its latest charge sheet, the EU accused Google of obstructing innovation by giving unfair prominence to its own apps, especially its search engine, in deals with mobile manufacturers such as Samsung or Huawei. The company is also accused of restricting manufacturers from installing rival operating systems based on Android on their phones.
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