This year has been an interesting one for the Internet giant, the company appointed a new CEO in the form of Sundar Pichai, and a new beginning started in the form of Alphabet. Now that Google is free to concentrate on the Internet and their mobile offerings, with their experimental side now part of Alphabet, it should be a great way to close out 2015. In North America, that might be true, but across the Atlantic in Europe, things are beginning to go from bad to worse for Google. In territories such as Germany and Spain, Google News has been picked at and basically kicked out of the two countries, while France is asking Google to extend “Right to be Forgotten” outside of the EU’s borders. Of course, looming above all of this is the overall Antitrust investigation that the European Commission started earlier this year. Now though, an unlikely player is about to make things worse for Google.
According to reports from both the New York Times and Business Insider, Deutsche Telekom is to issue an Antitrust complaint against Google in Europe. The complaint will echo those at the heart of the current Antitrust investigation, claiming that Google uses Android to push their own products unfairly, leaving little room for competitors to get a piece of the action. The complaint is said to be made by early November, and while Google is already facing scrutiny and a likely fine from the EU Government, Deutsche Telekom will make things worse. Not so much because this is a new complaint, but because Deutsche Telekom is a big deal in Europe, operating T-Mobile networks throughout the continent. If the EU Commission needed one more name to make their investigation seem credible, they just got it.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now for Google and Android, and if you look at it, things do seem a little anti-competitive. Google requires the Play Store and other key Google services to be prominently features on the homescreen of every Android device. Having said that, key players like Deutsche Telekom themselves have been content with this sort of arrangement for years now, what was their alternative? To let Apple completely control both the hardware and the software? Without Android, networks and manufacturers would struggle to sell smartphones that compete with the iPhone, Google’s mobile platform offers networks and manufacturers a credible app store, decent services and much more besides. Just what this and the overall Antitrust investigation turns up will be big news and could change the search giant’s strategy for good.