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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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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).

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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