EU takes Google antitrust battle to the next level with Android search pre-install complaint
While Apple reaps the largest profit margins of the mobile industry on devices powered by a closed platform, it’s no big secret the overwhelming majority of global smartphone users favor an open-source ecosystem.
But the European Union has embarked on an important quest several years ago, aiming to analyze the degree at which Google is in reality “open” to Android alteration. After alleging the search giant abuses its power to force hardware manufacturers to endorse various secondary services over software products developed by competitors, the EU has just drafted a “Statement of Objections” regarding the heavyweights.
Yes, the finger is now pointed at Google Search and Chrome, which the European Commission believes breach EU antitrust rules by coming pre-installed on many of the roughly 80 percent of the old continent’s “smart mobile devices” currently in use.
Furthermore, Big G is accused of requiring third-party OEMs to “set Google Search as the default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps”, as well as “giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices.”
Last but definitely not least, manufacturers are allegedly prevented from “selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code”, all of the above being deemed serious violations of anti-competitive practice regulations.
In a very prompt response posted on the company’s Europe blog, Google obviously highlights Amazon as an example of an OEM allowed to strip Android away of all pre-loaded Mountain View services, also claiming “any manufacturer can choose to load the suite of Google apps to their device and freely add other apps as well.”
Case closed? Not in the slightest, as Alphabet’s daughter company will still need to formally defend its stance before representatives of the European Commission, risking fines of billions of dollars if found guilty of antitrust law infringement.