Anti-trust suit filed against Google over Android monopoly

Anti-trust suit filed against Google over Android monopoly
In a suit filed by the owner of an HTC EVO 3D smartphone, it is being alleged that Google’s business practices and restrictions on the Android operating system artificially inflated the price of his device.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Jose, California. The policies in question are related to the mobile application distribution agreements” (MADAs) that manufacturers have with Google, and they set the guidelines that need to be followed in order to use Android.

According to the complaint, “Google’s expansion of its monopoly in search on smartphones, which helps through paid search-related advertisements to generate billions of dollars of profit a year, is 'not merely a function of having built a better search engine.' The ‘secret’ MADAs require that each Android device maker ‘pre-loads onto prime screen real estate all of the apps in the suite, whether the manufacturer wants them or not.’”

Google wrote in a statement simply that the introduction of Android has created greater competition, and offered consumers more choices, “Anyone can use Android without Google and anyone can use Google without Android.”

However, Steve Berman, the plaintiff’s attorney said that “Google had not achieved its monopoly by offering a better search engine, but through anti-competitive placement and market manipulation.”

The argument is akin to the Internet Explorer browser lawsuits that Microsoft contended with years ago. Except in this case, it is not just about “search” but Google’s whole suite of apps, from Drive, to Google Play, to YouTube. In so doing, Google has “illegally monopolized” the internet.

We will not dive in to the legalese, but suspect that the MADAs have been scrutinized by armies of attorneys for Google and the manufacturers. Since we have seen the Android Open Source Project be the foundation of products like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD tablets, perhaps a forthcoming smartphone, and Nokia’s new line of X phones, it will be interesting to see what direction this lawsuit turns.

source: eWeek and Reuters

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