Google, as a company, does tend to enjoy a dominance in the android smartphone market. There is barely an android smartphone that you can pick up that will not come bundled with Google’s app offerings. In fact, this is one of the reasons Cyanogen were recently reported as saying that they would like to divorce their CyanogenOS from Google. In effect, remove the dominance Google has on android operating systems.
Well, this dominance has been the source of an ongoing court battle that Google has found themselves caught up in. According to the plaintiffs, contracts which manufacturers are alleged to be forced to sign are the basis of why Google-based apps are so dominant on android smartphones. These so-called ‘anticompetition contracts’ is being argued forces smartphone prices higher, as companies who offer alternative products to the Google bundled apps cannot get their apps installed instead. This lack of competition means smartphones are less subsidized by the lack of revenue, which in turn ends up resulting in the consumers paying more.
Well, the latest on the ongoing court battle is that a Judge today in California has thrown the case out. The judge did not particularly comment on the actual bundling issue, but instead focused the judgement on the fact that the plaintiffs could not sufficiently prove that the anticompetition contracts, directly correlated with the cost of the devices to consumers. As no direct connection could be attributed to the contract and cost, the Judge ruled that it was impossible to place blame on one from the other. As a further extension of this point, the judge also highlighted that it could not be determined how many levels of cost were involved, between the level at which the contract is signed and the level at which the consumer pays for the device. As a result, again, this was noted as a reason as to why it could not be determined that the cost was a direct result of the contract signings. To conclude, the judge did give the plaintiffs three weeks to amend their claims and as such we will no doubt hear more in due course.