EC files complaint against Google for Android antitrust

April 20, 2016 | 12:09

Tags: #android #anticompetitive #antitrust #margrethe-vestager #monopoly

Companies: #alphabet #european-commission #european-union #google

The European Commission has filed a Statement of Objections against advertising giant Google, accusing the company of anticompetitive behaviour in relation to its Android mobile ecosystem.

Acquired by Google back in 2005, Android - an supposedly open-source operating system based around the Linux kernel, originally developed for smartphones and since expanded to everything from tablets to TVs - has been a major win for the company. Android is estimated to account for anything from 60 to 85 per cent of the smartphone market, depending on whose numbers you believe. Its position in the market, though, makes it a target for monopoly accusations - and the European Commission believes there is enough evidence to warrant a complaint.

'A competitive mobile internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe. Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google's behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of EU antitrust rules,' explained European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, of the filing. 'These rules apply to all companies active in Europe. Google now has the opportunity to reply to the Commission's concerns.'

The EC's complaint argues that Google and its umbrella company Alphabet has breached European Union antitrust regulations by: forcing manufacturers to pre-load the Google Search and Google Chrome apps on their Android devices while setting the default search provider to Google; requiring any manufacturer wishing to install the Google Apps Package bundle - which includes tools such as the Google Play Store and Gmail - to sign an anti-fragmentation agreement which prevents it from ever releasing a handset running a third-party fork of the Android Open Source Project; and offering financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators if they install Google Search as the exclusive search provider on their devices.

Google has not yet commented on the complaint, which can be publicly tracked on the official website.
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