European Commission Opens Anti-Trust Investigation On Google & Android

Apr 15, 2015 • 8:06 am | comments (16) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google News & Finances
 

European Commission & GoogleThe European Commission has officially published their "statement of objections" on Google's alleged anti-competitive nature around (a) shopping service and (b) Android platform. Google has responded to both, on (a) shopping comparison and (b) Android within an hour of the EU statement.

The European Commission is basically saying Google is using their market share to unfairly bolster their products over others, which "stifles competition and harms consumers."

Here is there statement:

The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services in the European Economic Area (EEA) by systematically favouring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages. The Commission's preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU antitrust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers. Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

The Commission has also formally opened a separate antitrust investigation into Google's conduct as regards the mobile operating system Android. The investigation will focus on whether Google has entered into anti-competitive agreements or abused a possible dominant position in the field of operating systems, applications and services for smart mobile devices.

Google has come back on both allegations:

Google's Shopping Service response:

Any economist would say that you typically do not see a ton of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating -- or dominated by one player. Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world. Zalando, the German shopping site, went public in 2014 in one of Europe’s biggest-ever tech IPOs. Companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Amazon have been investing in their own search services and search engines like Quixey, DuckDuckGo and Qwant have attracted new funding. We’re seeing innovation in voice search and the rise of search assistants -- with even more to come.

It’s why we respectfully but strongly disagree with the need to issue a Statement of Objections and look forward to making our case over the weeks ahead.

Google's Android response:

Android has been a key player in spurring this competition and choice, lowering prices and increasing choice for everyone (there are over 18,000 different devices available today);

  • It’s an open-source operating system that can be used free-of-charge by anyone - that’s right, literally anyone. And it’s not just phones. Today people are building almost anything with Android - including tablets, watches, TVs, cars, and more. Some Android devices use Google services, and others do not.
  • Our Google Play store contains over one million apps and we paid out over $7 billion in revenue over the past year to developers and content publishers.
  • Apps that compete directly with Google such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft Office, and Expedia are easily available to Android users. Indeed many of these apps come pre-loaded onto Android devices in addition to Google apps. The recent Samsung S6 is a great example of this, including pre-installed apps from Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.
  • Developers have a choice of platforms and over 80% of developers are building apps for several different mobile operating systems.

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google+.

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