Print 29 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Apr 10 at 9:48 PM

Fairsearch Europe said it's a "deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps"

Just as Google was on the verge of escaping one investigation with European regulators, it may be caught in yet another -- but this time, regarding its Android operating system. 

Fairsearch Europe -- a group of Google competitors including Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle -- have filed a complaint against Google for the way it builds the Android operating system to benefit Google apps in most smartphones. 

According to the complaint, Fairsearch Europe is accusing Google of using its mobile OS "as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today."

In other words, if a phone maker uses Android and other Google apps like YouTube, they must agree to position those Google apps on the forefront and other special locations on the phone's desktop. 

At this point, the European Commission must decide whether to pursue the complaint or not. It's unclear if the commission will do so or not yet, but the European Union's antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said regulators have been monitoring the Android operating system on the side while formally investigating Google's search practices. 

The European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Google's search behavior in November 2010. The investigation aims to find out whether Google has taken advantage of its search dominance by displaying links to its own services or not, despite competitors having more relevant offerings. 

The European Commission is also looking at whether Google is complying with European antitrust law regarding advertising practices. 

In May 2012, the European Commission said that Google should submit changes in how its search results are wired. In February of this year, Google promised to do just that in order to avoid any further wrath from the EU. 

The European Commission is receiving proposals from Google this week.

In January of this year, Google managed to escape a two-year U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation with no fines. The investigation looked into Google's possible abuse of search dominance as well by using results to its own advantage. Shortly after, the EU said it didn't plan to go easy on Google the way the U.S. did. 

Source: The New York Times

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EU is a double standard whore
By Pirks on 4/9/2013 1:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
They club MS for promoting IE in Windows but they do NOT club Google for doing EXACTLY THE SAME thing in Android

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By othercents on 4/9/13, Rating: -1
RE: EU is a double standard whore
By Lonyo on 4/9/2013 1:45:05 PM , Rating: 4
Um, you realise everyone has had the choice to use Linux for like... the entire existence of Windows, right?
Having a choice isn't enough for the EU. If you have a dominant market position, you can't use it to favour your own other products, even if they are free products.

Internet Explorer is free, and MS got dinged for bundling IE.
Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera are all free too, but MS got dinged for bundling IE.
As well as WMC etc.

Free doesn't get you a pass, neither does having alternatives.

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By Daemia on 4/9/2013 5:31:25 PM , Rating: 3
Google to EU - Tell Microsoft to make Windows free. That'll make it even..

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By maugrimtr on 4/10/2013 9:07:09 AM , Rating: 1
A double standard whore which hasn't passed down a decision unless you have a crystal ball to go with your stupidity.

The complaints are without merit because Android is not dominating the market. Android and Apple are closely matched so there is no monopoly position there to abuse. Why all the ills are thrown at the EU for upholding its laws on one particular case (Microsoft) is beyond me. They are required to investigate complaints like every other watchdog on the planet.

How about the double standard whore that is the US? Going to war over weapons of mass destruction that...oops...never existed. Monitoring emails and calls without a warrant because...oops...citizens allow two parties to hijack the democratic process from being free and open. Of course, we can't use such strong words like that. Why, I might get rated down to -6 just for suggesting it...

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By Da W on 4/9/2013 2:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
As a former competition investigator, i can say the case against Android IS THE EXACT SAME THING as the case against Windows and internet explorer.
The key element will be Android's market share, which is still below what Windows was in PC. That's the only thing that can save Google (barring a double-standard E-U commission but i don,t see why E-U officials would like Google and hate Microsoft). As a fact Microsoft knew what it was doing by waiting for Android to climb and dominate the market. The same complaint in 2011 would have gone nowhere.

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By Guspaz on 4/9/2013 4:26:03 PM , Rating: 5
There's a huge difference, which is that Google does not require that handset vendors include their apps at all. Anybody can produce a handset with Android on it without Google's permission; the only time the restrictions set in are if you want to include the Google apps. As such, Google says "If you want to use our apps (which you don't have to), you must abide by these conditions."

There's nothing stopping a handset vendor from producing an Android phone with Microsoft Internet Explorer for Android (if such a thing existed) and no trace of any of the Google stuff. In fact, there are device manufacturers like Amazon who do exactly this.

Microsoft never gave PC vendors the choice of what to ship.

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By mcnabney on 4/10/2013 12:45:20 AM , Rating: 3

Exhibit 1 - The Samsung Fascinate came with Bing installed for search instead of Google.

Case dismissed

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By althaz on 4/10/2013 3:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
OEMs were (and still are) free to put whatever software they want on Windows PCs, and that's not limited to just a different (better) browser.

Also, the article clearly states that Google do have restrictions on how their apps are presented - I don't think (hope) anybody thinks Android should have to remove the google apps that most people want, just that vendors should be allowed to have those apps installed whilst ALSO presenting alternatives as the default (this is not allowed currently).

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By Rukkian on 4/9/2013 2:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
So google providing functionality while giving customers choices of other options is bad, but apple locking down to only use theirs and making it nearly impossible to something else for years is okay?

There is no way google should have any problems with this if apple is able to continue doing much worse. Until a year or so ago, apple was the dominent force by a long shot.

RE: EU is a double standard whore
By retrospooty on 4/9/2013 2:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
"They club MS for promoting IE in Windows but they do NOT club Google for doing EXACTLY THE SAME thing in Android"

I agree, its the same thing and the EU is using a double standard. Not that Google should be penalized like MS, but that neither should be. Both MS and Google have a product. If you dont like it the way they make it, you are 100% free not to buy it. If you do buy it and dont want to use the embedded apps, there are other available that work fine... So WTF is the EU's problem?

By FITCamaro on 4/9/2013 6:17:33 PM , Rating: 1
They're out of money and as a government entity, they can get "free" money by suing companies for imaginary slights against consumers.

By TakinYourPoints on 4/9/2013 11:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Neither company should be getting fined over this, it is idiotic.

More relevant offerings?
By Hakuryu on 4/9/2013 1:40:51 PM , Rating: 5
The investigation aims to find out whether Google has taken advantage of its search dominance by displaying links to its own services or not, despite competitors having more relevant offerings.

If they are talking about Google Maps being the first result when you search for "Maps" for example, then I would love to see what they consider more relevant offerings.

I don't use Google apps because I can't find anything else; I used Google apps because I can't find anything better for the most part.

RE: More relevant offerings?
By Pirks on 4/9/2013 2:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
That was true a few years ago but not today with Bing around. I tried to lay a route on Android Google map on my Galaxy Note and it drew me craptastic route through three long highways while Bing on my HTC Titan showed me much better and shorter route through just one highway. I'm tired of crappy Google software quality, Android freezes and lags, crappy slow browser, stupid maps with wrong routes, I'm going WP8 on Samsung ATIV S whenever I can, just gimme my $$$ bonus at work and I'll get one. The only thing that was kind of holding me a bit was the lack of games but since Modern Combat 4 is released on WP8 tomorrow - bye bye crappy Android junk, your time has passed. It's iOS vs WP now, quality wise. With WP8 refresh getting 1080p screen support these holidays and new 5" hardware coming out Android will lose its last advantage over WP - big quality screens. Even now ATIV S has screen that was the flagship screen on Android just until very recently, and still considered flagship by many. Don't see any sense in buying Android anymore. It was pretty good when it was in version 4.0 and there was no competition like WP8 around but now things are changing fast.

RE: More relevant offerings?
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2013 6:13:02 PM , Rating: 2
Did a Dell India call center rep take over Pirks' account?

RE: More relevant offerings?
By Pirks on 4/9/2013 8:27:30 PM , Rating: 2
Don't be so dumb FATCamaro :))) hehehe

RE: More relevant offerings?
By sprockkets on 4/9/2013 11:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm tired of crappy Google software quality, Android freezes and lags, crappy slow browser, stupid maps with wrong routes,

Ummm, did it do that simply to have you avoid traffic?

You keep bringing up the stupid lag argument yet no one else experiences your issues with the Galaxy Note or SG3.

By xti on 4/9/2013 5:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
a while back, it was ruled that MS was pushing this bad practice because of IE bundling...and other browsers were at a disadvantage.

this would have all been avoided, if people learned how to uninstall. MS, now google, are being slapped because they failed to fix stupid.

By TakinYourPoints on 4/10/2013 9:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
It is absolutely ridiculous. Microsoft did bad things in the 90s like coercion and punishing of OEMs using Windows license fees as leverage. Bundling of IE into Windows wasn't one of those bad things.

The EU is doing this for money, plain and simple. It is absolutely ridiculous that MS and Google are getting pressure over bundled applications, so stupid.

MS is evil
By Dug on 4/9/2013 7:35:28 PM , Rating: 3
I remember MS used to beat up people if they thought someone might use something besides IE. I'm glad the government stepped in and saved everyone.

I know a lot of people don't have free will and were forced by gun point to purchase Windows. Then when they wanted to use a different web browser, assassins came in a said NO!

I think Google might beat up people too if they don't use Chrome.

Sick of the mentality
By Armageddonite on 4/10/2013 7:32:09 AM , Rating: 3
This whole opposition to bundled software is ridiculous. What's the argument? That people are too lazy and complacent to seek out alternatives to the programs their devices and operating systems come with, thus creating an unfair advantage for the bundler? What's the alternative...making it so that OS software and mobile devices are virtually unusable right out of the box?

You're not supposed to force alternatives, you're supposed to convince people to make that choice themselves. And anyone dumb enough to need to be led by the nose in order to ensure "fairness" in the market probably shouldn't be responsible for installing their own software.

Hey EU can you SUE them too? -Microsoft
By nerdye on 4/9/2013 1:09:05 PM , Rating: 1
Hi EU,
I know you sue us several times a year for ridiculous sums of money, and you know we hate your f'ing guts, but we hate google more. Can you please azz ram google in a lawsuit for us, you can even pretend its us while you do it! We recommend conjuring up images of pre bundled internet explorer to get you plenty riled up. Thanks guys! -Microsoft

By Lonyo on 4/9/2013 1:42:39 PM , Rating: 1
"Hey EU, you keep screwing us over. Take a look at Google. Either you charge them too, or we have a lot of ammunition going forward to say "go F yourselves" next time you try and screw us over yet again".

Pffft Microsoft...
By Daemia on 4/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Pffft Microsoft...
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2013 6:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't give a damn who bundles what. Every OS bundles a browser. Why? BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT ONE BY DEFAULT!

The EU only cares about one thing in these suits. Money.

I'm gonna sue
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2013 6:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
Chrome and IE come built in with debugging tools! How dare they give me useful functionality without asking me if I want it first!?!?

By vivk on 4/10/2013 12:20:43 PM , Rating: 1
I feel with Android, you have a choice.

With Windows, meh. Its more like #dealwithit.

Is Google misusing its position?
Maybe, but I dont think so. Their products are as good as the cometition. IE was hopeless.

Do I care? No.

Android is the best I have seen on a mobile OS, after WM. WP is super crap till its gets better like Android. And dont get me started about iOS. And that shit called iTunes.If the EU feels Android is anti competitive, then Apple tops vs Google.

As for the restrictions on apps, even Apple & MS does them. You have to design an app with these 'restrictions' in mind because it will ensure that the layout is good. In a mobile, layout is key to everything.

I only wish there were such systems in India. Here, purchasing of any laptop in most of the big cities from big electronic chains only have the crappy Windows 8. No option of Windows 7 on new models. They have older ones only with Windows 7.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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