European Commission presses charges against Google for anti-competitive behavior

This Monday, news broke out that the European Commission could charge Google (and Alphabet, its parent company) for anti-competitive behavior if it reasoned that the company gives its apps and services unfair advantage by negotiating their pre-loading on Android devices with partnering manufacturers and carriers. If the court deems Google guilty, the EC might impose a fine that could reach $7.45 billion, 10% of the company's annual earnings for 2015.

Today, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager formally announced the decision to press charges, accusing the Android stronghold of "abusing its dominant position" and "imposing unjustified restrictions and conditions on manufacturers of devices." Following its investigation, the Commission determined that Google is breaching European competition law by pre-loading its applications and services (such as the Chrome browser, Maps, and Search) on Android devices in a manner that does more harm than good.

Although users get the benefit of enjoying a solid set of software for free right from the get-go, they also refrain from discovering and installing new apps. Being the supplier of the Android operating system, Google enjoys the privilege of outfitting consumer devices with its full software suite, and its contracts with partnering hardware manufacturers are found to contain clauses prioritizing the Chrome browser and Google Search over possible alternatives suggested by manufactures and carriers.

Furthermore, Big G lines up these conditions with cash, offering "financial incentives" towards pre-loading the rest of its mobile apps and services. As part of its Anti-Fragmentation Agreement it also prevents manufacturers from selling devices that run competing operating systems based on the Android open source project. The Commission has found evidence that "Google's conduct prevented manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices based on a competing Android fork which had the potential of becoming a credible alternative to Google Android."

It's easy to see how the company's position of power puts its software competitors at a considerable disadvantage. But Ms. Vestager is concerned that consumers are harmed too, because they aren't given the widest possible choice and the current status-quo "stiffles innovation." However, Google is adamant that it means no harm. Senior VP Kent Walker insisted that Android is an "ecosystem based on open innovation" and said the company will demonstrate that the platform is "good for competition and good for consumers."

However, the company opposes the notion of changes to its smartphone business that would give its partners in Europe the freedom to hand-pick pre-loaded applications. The European Commission has objected miltiple times against ending the case, which means the dispute is yet to reach its conclusion.

source: via CNET



1. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Nothing will happen, because Google can easily stop giving users data to European Union.

9. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Of course nothing will happen because these governments lack the jollies to actually punish Google or bring any charges against them. Instead they're too busy trying to force an OEM to make a version of an OS that doesn't exist and would allow a very easy backdoor into billions of users' privacy. #Conspiracy

16. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The second part of your post is over and done with, it also has nothing to do with the EU.

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

1. requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google's Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps Agreed on this one But that infographic is misleading, other search engines and browsers can be preinstall 2. preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code All OEM skins are based of AOSP OnePlus sell phones Cyanogen and Oxygen OS MicroMax also sell phones with Cyanogen OS So this one is definitely wrong 3. giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices. Could be true, probably is

71. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Ok, I thought I was crazy or reading it wrong. Thanks for letting me know I can read and am sane. Only thing I can think about 2 is any OEM that uses Android's version cant use a fork. But that might be they can use a fork it just wont have Google apps or the Play Store. 3 might be the only sticking point but I feel 1 and 2 are debatable.

75. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I still dont get 2 TouchWiz is a fork of AOSP Sense is a fork of AOSP Cyanogen OS is a fork of AOSP Oxygen OS is a fork of AOSP All of those have Google apps

76. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

A forked Android can't use Google play services. Remember. Amazon's and Nokia X? Theyre the best examples of forked Android. Also, AOSP is different from Google's Android.

77. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Aren't all the OEMs make forks of AOSP too? AFAIK Google doesn't share their version of Andorid that they use in Nexus devices AFAIK all OEMs have to do to use GMS on their forks is preload some of Google's apps and pass the compatibility test Amazon/Nokia X didn't want to preload some of Google's apps, so they used their own services instead of GMS

82. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

AOSP is Android without Google apps. Just the OS itself. If you are accustomed to flashing ROMs, its like flashing without the gapps. Google Android is embodied by the Nexus line, some may say Google Play edition and the Android One devices. Also OEMs fall into the category of Google Android coz they have Google's proprietary software REQUIRED to install if they want Google play services. Forked Android is different coz they dont use GPE same as the examples on post#76, they have different app store. But forks have the essential Android OS.

89. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I thought OEMs use AOSP fork+GMS Anyways, how is #2 different from #1? I agree #1 is valid, as I said earlier

90. vincelongman

Posts: 5723; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

After reading an article on Android Police, I finally understand #2 now Its very very poorly written by the EU #2, is due to Google not allow OEMs to sell BOTH Android forks with GMS AND Android forks without GMS OEMs need to choose one or the other i.e. if Amazon wanted to start sell Firephones with GMS, they would have to stop selling Firephones without GMS IMO it is a valid complaint, now that I finally understand it

91. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

The term "open source" is murky to define because Google has a lot of restrictions.

4. QuasarExod

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Why not defending Google like defending Apple?

25. ananthu07 unregistered

Because Google is the only competitor to iPhones right now.

5. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

Use my OS but put your garbage before my apps.... Play Store is open for business, users can just download whatever alternative app to Google services they want. Are people that stupid that they can't do a little research about services/apps that they want to use on their devices? For what I have seen OEMs usually put a bunch of Non-Google apps on the device they make and the worst part is that you can't uninstall them. Maybe they should also sue/charge the OEMs for adding apps that you can't uninstall.

24. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yes right.. bloatware from OEM.. and another bloatware from mobile carrier. google should make built-in package disabler, that will open the first time you boot your phone (welcome wizard, right after inserting email address and stuff), so user can easily disable any bloatware and useless preinstalled apps

41. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

but then you wouldn't have an OS....;) google is a billion dollar company because of bloat...

42. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Those services pay to be there. FB, MS etc...Don't like the bloat, buy from an OEM that doesn't take their cash. This isn't about apps not being able to be downloaded, its about OEMs, not users.

6. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google has gotten far too big and people don't really see how manipulative Google is. Do a search for any video and what will you see in the SERPs? Youtube. Who owns Youtube? Google. Then they tried to force people to use G+, a poor alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Like is so much better than +This. If you really don't think Google is anticompetitive, you obviously have not been paying much attention.

8. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

You do not have to use Google

10. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Name an alternative. Sure I can use Bing for search, which I do btw, but I use Android and iOS. I can't really use Android without using Google.

12. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Android is Google like iOS is Apple. Thats called ecosystem. IF they want to force google to stop doing thats then Apple have to stop monopolizing iOS on apple only device. Thats would be fair :)

43. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Apple isn't forcing OEMs into anything. In fact Apple doesn't have OEMs, so they wont be charged with what is happening here. This is not about a preinstalled app(s). This is not about users. This is about an OEM using a 'free open source' OS, that is then walgardened out of competition, and then strong armed into paying Google or being paid by google to use Google AOSP. This is about an OEM signing a contract that if they use Google, because face it not a single android alternative other than Amazon has any weight in the big world of EU or USA, being forced to sign a contract saying that you can NO LONGER USE AOSP. Meaning that 'free' do what you want is GONE. Every version of AOSP things are removed and shoved into Google's version. Things that were once 'free' in AOSP that could be forked are now no longer supported. Androids AOSP browser? yea if you like std' isn't even updating it anymore, hence forcing an OEM to either preinstall another one or use Google. No one stopped you from downloading a browser in windows, yes MS was hit with the exact same antitrust lawsuit and lost.

53. Mxyzptlk unregistered

A very detailed and thought out analysis of the whole Google thing. People should read this comment and get educated.

51. Mxyzptlk unregistered

That didn't really answer my comment.

13. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

There is an alternative to everything

14. kefalin

Posts: 292; Member since: Feb 08, 2015

Yes you can. Just stop all the apps,clean their memory and download other apps you want to have. Hide those from Google in menu or put it in the folder. Thats it. And if you mean you wont have access to GP,its your problem. You still can download apps from mirrors. There is always a solution,but its dumb to do that

19. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Personally I replaced all Google apps and services that I didn't want with the ones that Microsoft provides.

86. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You can use Android without using Google. YOU NEVER HAVE TO USE GOOGLES OFFERINGS JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE PREINSTALLED> No more than YOU HAVE TO US IE ON Windows. If you THINK you cant use a Android device without using ANY of Google services you are wrong. The only main requirement is, you must register a GMAIL address. But you never have to actually use it for email.

11. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Apple is also anticompetitive because only one OEM ( Apple ) Can sell iOS device. So why the european commission press charge to force Apple to give license to other OEM to make iOS device? They are abusing dominant position as iOS OS OEM.

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