Even as Google continues to get battered by one charge after another in Europe, it would have hoped for better luck at home. However, the search giant has something else coming its way, seeing as the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has now reportedly extended its investigation into the company’s alleged abuse of its market dominance with Android. The investigation was initiated last September, when the FTC started scrutinizing whether the practice of bundling its own navigation app, internet browser, media player etc. with Android was in violation of American antitrust regulations. The European Union’s Competition Commission is already looking into whether or not the Silicon Valley behemoth is arm-twisting its OEM partners into including its own apps and services as default on their Android devices.
While the EU officially charged Google with monopolistic trade practices last week after a long-standing investigation, FTC representatives are said to have recently sought data from two unnamed companies in a sign that the agency is moving forward in its probe against Google. However, even as regulators in the US and Europe are essentially looking into the exact same issues, the Wall Street Journal now says that Google can still potentially end up with different verdicts on either side of the Atlantic. That’s because competition laws are thought to be much stiffer in Europe than they are in the US, making it much harder for corporates to implement anti-competitive, monopolistic trade practices in the old continent.
Not that such regulations are lax across the pond, but some media reports claim that in the US, Google can apparently still claim that closer integration of its apps and services with Android helps end-users have a better overall experience, much like Apple is able to deliver with its iOS platform. Whether or not that defense holds up in a legal setup remains to be seen, but Google will be hoping that it does, seeing as the company already finds itself in hot water on a number of issues around the world. While the EU is already investigating Google for alleged anti-competitive practices, recent complaints from News Corp. and Getty Images with regards to its news and image search services respectively, is sure to bring further anguish to a company already embattled with complaints and lawsuits from a number of quarters.