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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.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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