Android likely going to be targeted by European regulators in antitrust action

Android likely going to be targeted by European regulators in antitrust action
Google has been under some measure of scrutiny by regulators since anyone can really remember. Like other tech-titans, Google has been examined for a variety of reasons, mostly due to antitrust issues due to the fact that pretty much everyone uses Google as a search engine.

Eyes are also the Android operating system, and again, it is also due to the fact that nearly everyone uses a smartphone with Android on it. The European Commission is upping the number of inquiries to companies that work with the OS, building on data collected over the past few years.

These inquiries are basically questionnaires asking companies about if Google required, either through written or unwritten communication, that competitive apps not be pre-installed on Android powered devices.

The regulators are asking for any and all relevant communications from the past 7 years, presumably to establish a trend of behavior. The questionnaires are 40 questions long and will be completed by September.

We all know that Android is a “come one, come all” free to use platform, but to also have access to Google’s services there are a number of hoops that need to be jumped through. So, the European Commission is looking to find out if companies were prevented from installing applications that might directly compete with Google services like maps, and search.

Once the questionnaires have been compiled and answers cataloged, it is likely some type of formal investigation into Android will begin.

Google owns the European market and has been investigated due to taxes, privacy, and business practices. Android is not really any different than what Microsoft has endured with Windows, both of which have gone through the regulatory wringer over the years.

source: re/code

FEATURED VIDEO

27 Comments

1. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Funded by...j/k No, I know, this is the norm, watched it happen to IE years ago. Though in that case, there was some clear wrong doing, in this one, time will tell. This seems a little more professional then sharpening pitchforks and soaking torches, but not much lol.

2. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

RIP Android...

6. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

The Droid is still alive, and it's here to smile at you with his irresitible adorable eyes.

15. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Right after Apple goes out of business.

21. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

More like , RIP Apple. Apple is more disliked and hated on tech websites than Android. Even in YouTube Apple are more hated than Android. We are all techies in here and we all know why we hate and dislike Apple, unlike typical basic users who have no clues . Apple admits they target to brainwash clueless people, by telling and showing BS and lies.

3. Dubs816

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Looks like a potential win for Samsung to bring Magazine UX back to their phones.

4. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Glad to hear the EU is stepping up the game and hopefully forcing Google to be offer more of an open platform. This should give customers the ability to pick the services they want, not be stuck with the ones that are forced on them by Google. In general, customers should always have a high degree of choice. If they don't, then there needs to be a a high degree of (honest and uncorrupted) regulation.

5. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Can you name one competing product blocked from being installed and used?

7. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Where's the customer's ability to remove/control background services that Google installs? Where's the alternative to Google Backup? Where's the ability to install something like Xposed without root so the customer can control their privacy settings? I could go on and on. Google has locked down Android. Without root, it is impossible to exercise choice over your own phone.

8. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

So you're saying customers should have the ability to determine whether an update is relevant or not? Meanwhile, be exposed to attacks? There are a number of Backup Apps. So you're saying every user should have the ability to install something like Xposed installer without root? The hoops and loops are there for a reason, so that less informed people don't mess around with the system settings. Without root it's impossible to exercise choice over your own phone; true, but I believe getting root access should be difficult more than just clicking yes a couple of times.

10. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Many updates have absolutely nothing to do with security. Suggesting that they do is disingenuous. And yes, just like every other modern OS, the user should have choice over updates. Maybe some update has a few good things, but also causes trouble for the S-Pen. And that person is an artist who depends on the S-Pen. They may choose to do no update as the update will make their device worse for them. In other words, they should have choice to do or not do based on what matters to them. Just like everyone should. People have many different needs. Google (and Samsung and others) should respect this. There are no backup apps that offer similar functionality to Google's online backup. It's just a checkbox and it backs up everything automatically. The user has no ability to choose a different online backup service, say something from SpiderOak or Dropbox or whatever. Or provide their own backup service provider running on a Linode or whatever (using an open backup API that Google should make a public part of Android). Yes, every device owner should have choice to enable root and do whatever they want, including installing Xposed. It can work like ADB debugging does now. It's not obvious and normal people won't discover it by accident, but it is very simple to enable and "just works".

13. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Apple is more disrespectful to people's wishes in regards to updates and forced downloads. When iOS gets an update, all iPhones are forced to download the software, even if you do not want to. You can't even delete the install file if you want to. Then from that point on until you actually break down and "update", you will get repeated reminders to install the update. That is not freedom to do what you wish with a smartphone, that's harassment.

16. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I agree many updates have nothing to with security and suggesting that they do is disingenuous. But suggesting that updates to Google's background services causes trouble for the S-Pen is also disingenuous. If an update is available it prompts you to install, as opposed to automatically installing them. Not everyone uses Google's online backup. Some users like me prefer standalone backup apps (TiBa for me) but I agree they could give a choice as to whether I want to store my backup on GDrive or other competing products. I even agree on the last point that rooting could be made a little easier on other OEM devices but Google's devices have easier rooting methods already. It's the manufacturers who are making rooting difficult, though some are better in that aspect (Moto, Sony, etc.)

12. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Apple removed Google Maps from their phones, They also prevented 3rd party keyboards up until just now. Can you install Chrome on an iPhone? What about Windows phone? They deliberately blocked Google search from being used as a default search engine. Google doesn't tell people that they can't install software on their phones, that's Apple and Microsoft.

14. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"Google doesn't tell people that they can't install software on their phones, that's Apple and Microsoft." Google doesn't tell people they can't install software on their phones, because it is already limited by Google in the OS. Some things you can fix with root, others you cannot. In all fairness, Apple didn't support third party keyboards until now. It wasn't as if there was third party keyboard support just sitting there. Apple had to come up with some APIs, a new security sandbox definition, and do a lot of testing. Third party keyboards in Android are a proven major security hole as Google always prioritizes stealing your data over security. And, yes, you can install Chrome on an iPhone. And in iOS 8, Apple removed the restriction about using the Javascript compiler. I agree -- Windows Phone is an irrelevant POS. It is locked down and limited far worse than iOS or Android.

27. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

"These inquiries are basically questionnaires asking companies about if Google required, either through written or unwritten communication, that competitive apps not be pre-installed on Android powered devices." When will the EU go after Apple? Apple's been engaging in anti competitive practices since the dawn of the iPhone. How many apps have been banned or disallowed because "they may cause confusion to the end user" or in layman's terms "this app competes with an Apple product that's embedded in the OS." You still can't set default apps where Apple software is already the default because "it causes confusion to the end user" and again really would cause competition with Apple products.

17. jos_031

Posts: 62; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

There is not a single platform that offers root access. At least we started getting flexibility of root access in some android phones. Google play service is a proprietary software package it contains numerous apps. They tell you can install package completely or not install it. The choice is up to manufacturer. Backup app if companies want can develop and install, no one is blocking. Even root access is completely up to manufacturer. but if device is boot loader unlock able no carrier will sell it.

26. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

So no, no product or service. Kind of what I thought.

11. aldridhl

Posts: 76; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

about time.

18. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Hmmm, why would a company want to sell its products with competitor's apps, pre installed? A consumer can install what he or she wants after the purchase.What a waste of time this...

19. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Google allows other companies to sell an Android device with their own apps on it, so, the EU should focus on banning the GMO crap, or kicking out the Rothschilds. This is such a non issue...

24. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Lol kicking out the Rothshilds, they run the world ;)

20. mattkl

Posts: 255; Member since: Feb 01, 2010

I wish this was true. Then I wouldn't have had to suffer through Bing on the Samsung Fascinate.

25. tokuzumi

Posts: 1873; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

There could be something to this. Google did recently enter an agreement with Samsung, and Samsung agrees to push the Google services first, even if Sammy has a competing service. I don't think this is going to be as big of a deal as the Internet Explorer/Netscape battle back in the late 90s, though.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.