world's most popular smartphone operating system, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS, can't seem to
catch a break these days. If its not being attacked in court  by rival smartphone maker Apple, Inc. (AAPL) whose looking to forcibly
remove its products from market  with lawsuits, it's being probed by antitrust
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday
issued long awaited subpoenas. For those of you
who aren't lawyers and haven't been dragged through a major court case, a
"subpoena" is a government demand for testimony or evidence.
Failure to give the requested information can result in criminal and/or
The fact that the U.S. government has issued subpoenas shows that it's getting
serious about its investigation of Google. A Google spokeswoman seemed
nonchalant, commenting, "We understand that with success comes scrutiny.
We're happy to answer any questions they have about our business."
But for all the cheer, the move is a major concern for Google.
Several small smartphone service providers have claimed that Google applied pressure to its hardware partners to
boot their products off their smartphones, in favor of Google's rival services.
In and of itself, that might not be illegal were, Google not by far the
industry's most dominant player in sales. Android is reportedly
outselling the next closest company, Apple, 5-to-2 in recent figures. Thus if Google is
found guilty of the allegations, it could face stiff penalties for violating
Other allegations against Google include reports that it stole data from other services, such as
reviews site Yelp and used it to bolster its own offerings.
And Google also stands of artificially boosting its services above
competitors' in the results from its search engine -- the most used search
engine on the planet.
The issue of the subpoenas was first reported by The
Wall Street Journal. Even if Google can beat the antitrust rap in the
U.S. it faces similar
accusations in Europe, a place known for its strict antitrust laws .
Google has set aside $500M USD in cash to cover
possible antitrust penalties. The question is whether that will be close