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European Union Receives Antitrust Complaint About Android

By - Source: FairSearch | B 28 comments

FairSearch says Google is using Android as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners.

Google could be in hot water with the European Union's antitrust body over its Android operating system. Antitrust regulators in Europe this week received an official complaint regarding Google and its mobile OS from FairSearch Europe. FairSearch is a group of businesses and organizations that promotes a level playing field when it comes to competition in online and mobile search. Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, TripAdvisor, Kayak and Hotwire are all members of FairSearch. Today, the European arm of this organization released a statement detailing a complaint it made about Google to the European Union.

FairSearch argues that Google is using "deceptive conduct" to lockout the competition in the mobile search market. With 70 percent of the smartphone OS market, Google commands 96 percent of the mobile search advertising market. Except, according to FairSearch, the search giant isn't playing fair. FairSearch's complaint says that though Google gives Android to device makers for free, phone makers that want apps like Maps, or YouTube are forced to 'pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone.' FairSearch says this puts other providers at a disadvantage and puts Android in control of consumer data on the majority of today's smartphones.

"Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," said Thomas Vinje on behalf of the FairSearch coalition. "We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system."

The EU is already investigating Google's practices in the search market. More than likely, Google doesn't want another antitrust investigation on its hands. However, the New York Times spoke to EU antitrust chief, Joaquín Almunia, who says the EU has been 'examining' Android independent of the desktop search inquiry. With this formal complaint from FairSearch, NYT reports that the EU will have to make a decision on whether or not it wants to pursue the case or drop it altogether.

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  • 11 Hide
    irish_adam , April 10, 2013 4:36 AM
    you mean like windows phone pushes bing in the same way?
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    irish_adam , April 10, 2013 4:36 AM
    you mean like windows phone pushes bing in the same way?
  • 4 Hide
    silverblue , April 10, 2013 4:48 AM
    Microsoft complaining about another company having a lesser monopoly than it has enjoyed in the past albeit in a different market? Amusing.
  • -2 Hide
    merikafyeah , April 10, 2013 4:55 AM
    Testing comment. An error occurred posting previous comments.
  • 0 Hide
    merikafyeah , April 10, 2013 4:56 AM
    Another day, another EU antitrust farce. It's Google's f***ing OS. God forbid anything from Google could be prominently featured in an OS maintained by Google. That's just ridiculous. I mean, look at Apple. Their system is the pinnacle of openness. It's not as though they only allow their own OS on their systems or anything like that. Nope. Nothing here screams antitrust at all.
  • 0 Hide
    merikafyeah , April 10, 2013 4:58 AM
    The only thing that could be more inane is if the EU started fining a company hundreds of millions for including their own browser in their own OS. But that would never happen, because there are competent people running the EU with way more important things to do with their time.
  • 4 Hide
    ihog , April 10, 2013 5:18 AM
    Is it me or is it pretty straight forward? If you want our OS for free, then you have to put our apps on there. How is anyone being "deceived?"
  • 2 Hide
    Memnarchon , April 10, 2013 5:25 AM
    What's wrong with comments today?
  • 0 Hide
    merikafyeah , April 10, 2013 5:27 AM
    Strange. I can post the first and second half of my original comment separately, but when I try to combine them into one post an error occurs. New word count limit Toms? Yet another step backwards. I just hope they did away with the whole slideshow thing which I'm certain EVERYONE hates passionately. That and the fact that images have to be loaded in a separate tab inside of another tab, a la 1998.
  • 1 Hide
    ddpruitt , April 10, 2013 5:35 AM
    Quote:
    phone makers that want apps like Maps, or YouTube are forced to 'pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone.'


    Actually they require neither. If you want to put GApps on your device you have to have the device sent for approval. Then when you get approval you can stick them wherever you'd like. Just look at what Verizon does, most of the GApps are buried in menus and they turn on their own services by default.

    Sounds like MS and Nokia are unhappy they can't compete with inferior products.
  • 4 Hide
    cumi2k4 , April 10, 2013 5:36 AM
    how cute..."FairSearch" ... how about google starting to fund a coalition for "FairOS", also, those directX surely monopolize the gaming community...
  • 0 Hide
    Achoo22 , April 10, 2013 6:02 AM
    It seems to me that the allegations are true. It's pretty freaking difficult to install, eg, Maps without installing the frameworks, the secure login helper, Play, and a few other packages that have absolutely zero to do with maps. I guess it remains to be seen whether or not this is illegal, but it's certainly annoying. Applications should do ONLY what they are stated to do.
  • -4 Hide
    Achoo22 , April 10, 2013 6:03 AM
    It seems to me that the allegations are true. It's pretty freaking difficult to install, eg, Maps without installing the frameworks, the secure login helper, Play, and a few other packages that have absolutely zero to do with maps. I guess it remains to be seen whether or not this is illegal, but it's certainly annoying. Applications should do ONLY what they are stated to do.
  • 2 Hide
    janetonly42 , April 10, 2013 6:13 AM
    The convicted monopolist Microsoft is getting desperate.
  • 1 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , April 10, 2013 6:21 AM
    Outlook has prominent default placement on Windows. So does Internet explorer. And any time you set other vendor's software as default on your system the system will try and re-instate IE at every chance. So what's up with that? I would object strongly to the EU sustaining this request. I believe you can use any browser, mail or social network on your android phone (if the vendors of often proprietary crap even allows it)
  • -1 Hide
    Bloob , April 10, 2013 6:54 AM
    Well, Android is pretty much a monopoly in mobile atm, so Google should be monitored as tightly as MS is in desktop (if not more so).
  • 3 Hide
    PraxGTI , April 10, 2013 7:17 AM
    Personally I don't find these accusations to have any merit. Google provides a fantastic and complete product and consumers want it that way. Competitors have not come up with anything better and are now complaining that they cannot get any market share...well step up your game then whiners.


    Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, TripAdvisor, Kayak and Hotwire, let me touch on those. Google's search for Microsoft knowledgebase articles is more effective than on Microsoft's actual webiste. I can find more information about specs, firmware, or troubleshooting for Nokia on Google than on any other search engine, or on Nokia's webiste. Same goes for the others. There is more helpful information to be found on all of Oracle's resources by using Google than by searching on Oracles page.

    If they want to complain, they should make products that can actually compete instead of taking away from something that the consumer is benefiting from immensely. Google maps couldn't be possible without the implementation of their location services / search technology and one of the biggest companies in the world (*cough* Apple *cough*) couldn't do any better even with their massive amount of net worth and cashflow.

    Wake up EU, better products = more consumers buy them = competition needs to try harder. The EU needs to stop trying to regulate the market based on crappy products that consumers aren't using and aren't buying because they are lower quality and are less functional. Deal with it.
  • -1 Hide
    mariusmotea , April 10, 2013 7:36 AM
    It's almost impossible to change the default search provider (Bing) in internet explorer 8,9,10 . Also a search in internet explorer gallery for google word don't reaveal anything
  • 2 Hide
    house70 , April 10, 2013 7:48 AM
    Man. Ever since TH switched their forums and such, the system has been going down faster than Titanic. Now they screwed up the comments section.
  • 0 Hide
    kartu , April 10, 2013 8:22 AM
    Quote:
    you mean like windows phone pushes bing in the same way?


    With 1-3% of the market, they are safe doing it. I dislike microsoft and I pity Nokia, but...

    So company A, that has no interest in the market B, invests money and effectively kills competition there (go compete with something that is free and funded by multi-billion company) TO PUSH its search engine. How could that be right?

    Oh, and every time I do search with google, it keeps hinting me to upgrade my browser to chrome. Should we allow monopolists to push whatever they want like that?
  • 0 Hide
    hoofhearted , April 10, 2013 8:32 AM
    Phone makers are not forced to take Google apps with the OS.
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