The European Commission is charging Google with the violation of the current competition rules based on the fact that the company seems to be promoting its own services in its Android operating system, over those developed by rivals.
The charges are referred to as statement of objections, and they are to be formally presented on Wednesday as stated by one of the 3 anonymous European Commission’s spokesmen. They refused to release any further information regarding the antitrust charges.
The reasons behind the charges
These accusations come to fruition in correlation with some regulatory measures taken by the governments of America and the European Union. Google is known for linking its products and services, being all of them are readily available on Android software.
The issue is that bundling services with the smartphone’s OS restricts the user’s exposure to rival software. Android devices, regardless of the manufacturer, are pretty much forced to put a Google search function, along many other services such as Gmail and Google Maps, all of which are able to work in conjunction. Google strongly denies that it has breached any law of the European Union regarding competition.
Mark Jansen, a spokesman for Google, argued that “anyone can use Android with or without Google applications. Hardware manufacturers and carriers can decide how to use Android, and consumers have the last word about which apps they want to use on their devices.”
Currently, Android is the go-to smartphone OS for Europe, as almost 4 out of 5 European smartphones run on this software. Android’s director, Hiroshi Lockheimer referred to the fact that Google apps allow Android smartphones to work as expected and that manufacturers are fully capable of pre-loading rival applications.
“When we take a new smartphone out of its box, we want it to be ready to go straight away. We expect the maker – or the network operator – to make sure the basic apps, like a search app, are pre-loaded before it gets to us” – Hiroshi Lockheimer.
This is not the first time Google is accused of manhandling the market, as there is a similar query regarding the Google Search service, where the outcome is expected be a fine of $7 billion, the maximum possible amount, as it matches 10 per cent of Google’s annual revenue. Canada is one of the countries that had an ongoing investigation regarding Google’s abuse of position, but the operation was shut down eventually, saying that they would continue to remain vigilant towards the company’s future activities.
Source: NY Times