FTC may be looking into Google antitrust complaints over Android services
Android continues to dominate the global smartphone market, accounting for something like four out of every five smartphones being sold. With smartphone use as pervasive a part of our lives as it’s become, it’s understandable that government regulators end up taking a close look at Android and Google’s intentions for the platform. That kind of scrutiny has resulted in allegations of antitrust violations before, like we saw last year in Europe, with complaints about unfair Google Play Store practices. Now the US may be the next to challenge Google’s control over Android, with a report claiming that the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are investigating complaints that Android unfairly prioritizes Google’s own services.
This may or may not go anywhere, and no formal case has yet to be undertaken against Google, but the agencies have reportedly begun looking into the company’s practices. The FTC is supposed to have taken the lead this time – which isn’t the commission’s first run-in with Google over antitrust complaints. Last time, it voted not to move forward with a case, but this time around, it sounds like the jury’s still out.
There are a lot of ways things could go from here, and even if the FTC does decide that Google’s up to no good (and that’s far from a certainty, considering the -admittedly limited- availability of Android-based phones like the OnePlus 2 that distance themselves from Google’s own services), electing to move forward with any enforcement action could still prove to be a politically charged decision, the outcome of which is far from certain.