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European Union Receives Antitrust Complaint About Android

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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  • irish_adam
    you mean like windows phone pushes bing in the same way?
    Reply
  • silverblue
    Microsoft complaining about another company having a lesser monopoly than it has enjoyed in the past albeit in a different market? Amusing.
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    Testing comment. An error occurred posting previous comments.
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    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.
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    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.
    Reply
  • ihog
    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?"
    Reply
  • Memnarchon
    What's wrong with comments today?
    Reply
  • merikafyeah
    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.
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    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.
    Reply
  • cumi2k4
    how cute..."FairSearch" ... how about google starting to fund a coalition for "FairOS", also, those directX surely monopolize the gaming community...
    Reply