Google faces Android probe by European Union

The European Commission has accused Google of using its Android mobile operating system to abuse its dominant position.

The Commission has claimed that the company insists that smartphone manufacturers using the platform must pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser. This, say European Union antitrust regulators, is stifling innovation and denying consumers access to the fullest range of mobile.

Announcing the decision, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said; “A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe. Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google’s behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players.

Consumer champions Beuc applauded the move, saying; “It is good news that the European Commission is flexing its muscles on competition law. This has to happen if an EU digital economy is to serve consumers and innovative players. 

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“Competition rules apply regardless of the company’s country of origin. They are crucial to prevent companies from using their market power to the detriment of consumer choice and innovation.”

Google, which made an estimated €9.5bn from advertising sales on Android phones through its apps such as Maps, Search and Gmail, has denied the accusations. It said that Android was a remarkable system based on open-source software and open innovation. The company has 12 weeks to respond to the charges.

The company is already facing accusations from the EU that it promotes its own shopping service on web searches at the expense of rival services.

Colin Marrs

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