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The European Commission has published a press release accusing Google of anti-competitive practices.  The Commission has already sent a statement of objections to Google, but the complaints are summarized in the press release as well. The post notes that, “Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.”

The Commission notes that, within the EU, Google has over 90% market share both as a general search engine and as a provider of mobile operating systems. It believes that Google is abusing its dominant market position to enforce restrictions on Android phone manufacturers. The post states that such restrictions are stifling competition and innovation in the mobile market, and protecting Google’s dominant position. The Commission indicates that there are three practices by Google that it believes violate EU antitrust law. They are:

  • requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google’s Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps;

  • preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code;

  • giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices.

Google quickly reacted with a blog post responding to the accusations. The post states that partner agreements are voluntary, and anyone can create Android devices without Google. It notes that companies like Amazon do just that. Google defends its practice of requiring manufacturing partners to not use forks of Android on the grounds that it ensures compatibility of apps across devices.

The post also argues that requiring manufacturers to pre-install certain Google apps is required to make Android economically viable. It states that development of the OS is costly, but it is made available for free. Revenue Google makes from its apps offsets the cost of developing Android. Finally, the post states that having Google apps pre-installed on the phone does not stifle competition, and users are free to install numerous competing apps if they choose.

Should Google be punished for anti-competitive practices, or are they being targeted unfairly? Leave your comments below.


Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.



  • WhiteNut

    Besides the second point, the other two aren’t what I see as unfair business practice. They’re googles’ phones they can have them come preinstalled with what they want. On top of that, its not like people are even clamoring to have Bing or Yahoo installed on anything.

  • GrimFate

    As soon as I saw the complaints, my initial thought was the “it’s a necessary evil to support the development of Android” argument. Forcing them not to be able to bundle their apps and search engine with Android would obviously force them to either charge for Android and probably go close source (which would increase the cost of Android phones and probably displease people), or simply discontinue Android.

  • noavailableusername

    Bing is probably the #1 search engine used by people to find Google.

  • noavailableusername

    It seems like they’re just targeting Google where the beneficiaries would be other major conglomerates, developers and manufacturers. What’s really the motivation?

  • AsphaltMyGarden

    I can’t really se “Finally, the post states that having Google apps pre-installed on the phone does not stifle competition, and users are free to install numerous competing apps if they choose.” fly as an argument, isn’t that more or less the same thing Microsoft claimed when there was complaints about Windows coming with Internet Explorer as default webbrowser?

  • WhiteNut

    Just like IE is the most used browser to download other browsers.

  • Andy

    Google has been pushing to get less and less bloat on android and a more unify stable android.. and now we get this? I dont mind that search and browser isnt the google version by standard…. as long as the manufacturers dont lock you out in uninstalling their search and browser.

  • Ryzer

    Note that the EU doesn’t go after Apple. They just go where there’s money to be had.

  • Strazdas

    Additionally, many of googles proprietary apps would flat out not work without google search being installed because it uses it for their tasks. so asking for it to be installed as a prerequisite is technically needed.

  • Strazdas

    Google has been pushing to get less and less bloat on android and a more unify stable android..

    Except google is the bloat themselves. Google play store browser 150 MB? Proprietary google crapware another 200 MB of memory? the fuck do you need that space for a service i dont even use? But no apperently everyone must have their program memory cramped with useless google crap or they wont even let you install anything else.

  • Strazdas

    yep and Microsoft lost that court.

  • AsphaltMyGarden

    Does Apple really have a 90% market share in any market in the EU ?

  • Ryzer

    No, but each company (Apple, Microsoft) follows the same practices concerning their mobile platforms. The only difference IS that Android has a bigger chunk of the market. So Google shall be punished and made to follow different rules while the other companies will continue the same practices?

    If this was about fare practices all companies would be addressed for pre-app loading, default browsers, platform locked app stores, etc. This is sheer hypocrisy and money gouging.

  • AsphaltMyGarden

    But the goal of anti-competitive practices is to prevent a monopoly from emerging and money gorging the consumers.

    And its not like the EU makes money from it unless Google refuses to adhear to the claimed anti-trust practices and its judged that it is infact anti-trust, then there might be fines to pay but otherwise the only ones who stands to make money from it is the consumers and Googles competition.

  • Ryzer

    If the goal is to eliminate anti-competitive practices, then why would any company engaged in anti-competitive practices be exempt? It would be much more believable if guidelines were set for all the companies. It wasn’t too long ago when Microsoft was getting fined for for similar practices pre-loading their browser on their desktops. Rather, here we are again, a massive company allowed to grow and is now ready to be milked.

  • Microsoft also had a larger dominance of the market than Google does. Iphones exist.

  • Apple can make their software mandatory, but google can’t? That’s just insane.

  • Compare that to the 18GB my windows install takes up.

  • GrimFate

    I remember having a similar response when Europe told Microsoft they couldn’t include Windows Media Player with Windows, and had to offer multiple browser choices out of the box. Why was the same not applied to Apple?

    I suspect it’s because Apple makes the hardware, software and services, so they are effectively creating the entire product, whereas Google is sort of forcing other companies to include its services on their devices. (Which is obviously silly because Google needs to do it to offer Android for free; we’re paying for Android by using Google’s services instead of money.)

    Or it’s because Google’s search and OS dominate the market so they’re just getting more scrutiny. I’m not 100% sure.

  • Strazdas

    Iphones less than 10% of phone sales though. The market is 90%+ Android.

  • Strazdas

    Actually a lot of things was applied to Apple and they simply refused to bend. They paid their fine and kept doing whatever they want. Since Apple is a US company EU has no direct jurisdiction over it and the most they can do is make them pay a fine or stop selling in Europe. Apple paid the fine and told EU courts to fuck off.

  • Strazdas

    Your comparing wrong things. You should compare Windows install to android install. Google Play Store should be compared to things like Steam, which are both online web stores of digital products. Steam takes what, 18 MB?

    For the record, on my phone the Android OS right now takes over 2GB.

  • GrimFate

    haha nice

  • Checked
    iphones are 17%