We've been hearing the words 'Google' and 'Antitrust' mentioned in same sentences way too often lately. The Moutain View giant has been under investigation in a number of countries all over the world lately, and it seems like the company is now back under U.S. antitrust scrutiny as well according to Bloomberg's report. So, what's happening? Well, the Federal Trade Commission talked with the Justice Department and agreed to investigate Google's Android business. Bloomberg says that this info comes from two people familiar with the matter, so it's technically still not confirmed it seems.
The report goes on to saying that Google will be investigated under the suspicion that the company has been prioritizing their own services on the Android platform, and have restricted some other ones. This investigation is in its early stages it seems, and it could end before it begins really. As a side note, FTC has investigated Google's Internet search business two years ago, so we'll see what happens next. According to IDC, Android OS currently holds 59.3% market share in the US, Apple's iOS is on 38%, while Windows Phone and Blackberry OS trail behind with less than 3% each.
There's nothing wrong with bundling products and services together, and that alone cannot violate antitrust laws. However, if a company dominates the market for a certain product that is in high demand, and basically forces consumers to buy a complementary product, well, that's a completely different story. If a company lets consumers go to other manufacturers in order to avoid bundled products, well, that cannot be considered to be an antitrust violation.
As already mentioned, Google has been investigated before, their Search business that is, but two years ago FTC couldn't conduct a proper investigation because the commission voted 5-0 not to bring move forward with it. Google is not the only company on FTC's radar though, Apple and Amazon have also been on FTC's list lately. We're seeing plenty of antitrust cases lately, and Google is one of the most targetted companies in those investigations, that's for sure. We'll have to wait and see what will happen next, so stay tuned, we'll keep you in the loop.