Google accused of behaving unfairly by Microsoft

The accusation is that Google is blocking competition in mobile telephony. FairSearch describes Google’s Android as “a ‘Trojan Horse’ to dominate mobile markets.” 

“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition. “We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market.” 

The EU’s competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, said last year that he had received a complaint against Android. He is currently involved with a separate discussion with Google over its search practices, which he hopes to conclude later this year. He does not have to take any action over a new complaint other than respond to it, and it is not clear whether the Android complaint has become an official part of the discussions. 

This latest move by FairSearch seems designed to add pressure for a rapid response to the Android complaint. “We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market,” said Vinje. “Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system.”

FairSearch complains that Android has achieved numerical dominance of the mobile market through unfair practices – by making the operating system free. But this comes with a condition: device makers “are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone.” The result, says FairSearch, is predatory behavior that makes it difficult for other vendors to compete. “This disadvantages other providers, and puts Google’s Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today.”

The timing of this statement may have been triggered by last week’s announcement that six European privacy regulators, including the UK, France and Germany, have commenced action against Google over its combined privacy policy which they say contravenes European law. It enables FairSearch to say, “Given Google’s track record of ignoring the law, mobile Internet users should be very concerned.”

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