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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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By ResStellarum on 4/10/2013 8:29:43 AM , Rating: 0
Um, you realise everyone has had the choice to use Linux for like... the entire existence of Windows, right?

And because of secret deals using NDA's, OEM's still have to pay Microsoft whether they ship a PC with or without Linux. Microsoft have systematically removed all choice from the desktop PC market. Only recently has Linux been able to make headway, thanks mostly to Ubuntu, and Vista/Windows 8's failings.

If any company deserves to be targeted for antitrust, it's Microsoft. Unfortunately, Microsoft now pays big bucks to politicians and hides its activities behind NDA's, so that's difficult.

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.

Using a monopoly in one market to dominate other and hinder competition is definitely antitrust. Microsoft did that and still does with IE. IE can't be removed from a Windows system because Microsoft unnecessarily tied it into the core OS.

For years, this allowed IE to dictate how the web worked, and no other browser could get a look in. Sites only worked with IE, and the whole thing was a mess. That's a example of a very damaging antitrust.

In Google's case, it's quite different. Android can be built without Google's apps from the AOSP. I honestly don't see how anyone can compare the two companies.

Microsoft's continued attacks on Google using proxies is quite underhanded actually. Clearly, nothing is beneath them when it comes to eliminating the competition.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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