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EU Officially Charges Google with Android Antitrust Claim

April 20, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Google is already facing an antitrust investigation from the European Union, but it shouldn’t come as much surprise to people that they’re levelling another one at Google, this time over the way they handle Android. This might seem odd to some people, as Android is of course an open source operating system, but the lines between what is a “Google Android” version of the operating system and what isn’t have become more definite in the last couple of years. Google requires partners such as Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and Motorola to agree to certain terms if that to get access to the Google Services. This would include the Google Play Store, Google Maps, YouTube and a lot more. Without agreeing to these terms, a Galaxy S7 Edge would be all Android and no Google, which really doesn’t seem all that Android in the first place.

The EU is investigating Google’s handling of Android because of the way that it “forces” manufacturers such as Samsung to bundle in and push Google services. Have you ever wondered why all of those show devices in your local carrier store have a Google folder on the front home screen, as well as a link to the Google Play Store? That’s because Google makes it a part of their agreement. You can’t make a phone and ship it with the Play Store without having those folders on the home screen, because Google won’t let you. European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said that “we believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players”.

These are stern words from the EU, and it’s clear that there are a lot of people unhappy with how Google handles Android, as many of these claims have been brought to the EU by third-parties making complaints of their own. Whether or not this goes anywhere is something we’ll have to wait on, but it sure looks as though the European Union isn’t messing around here. They’re unhappy with the way that Google is allegedly controlling the mobile market, and they want it to change. Fines and concessions on Google’s part are more then likely, but for now the firm merely had this to say: “we look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate that Android is good for competition and good for consumers”.