EU Regulators Eye Google Again — This Time It’s Android
The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, is reportedly investigating claims that Google used anticompetitive means to boost its Android operating system’s market share. According to documents cited by the Financial Times, which broke the story, the probe was inspired by the allegations of rivals like Microsoft and Nokia, which claim Google has been licensing Android to mobile device manufacturers below cost and making demands about the placement of its various services on their handsets. Filed in April, the complaint accuses Google of using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today.”
Sources described the probe as informal, and it’s unclear if anything will come of it. That said, there’s plenty of precedent for such preliminary efforts to expand into full-blown investigations if the agency finds merit in the allegations. And given criticism of the EC’s provisional antitrust settlement with Google, EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia will likely be reviewing the probe’s findings with a very keen eye.
Google declined comment on the probe, but issued a statement generally disputing the allegations leveled against it. “Android is an open platform that fosters competition. Handset makers, carriers and consumers can decide how to use Android, including which applications they want to use.”