It is true that Android dominates the market. Does that mean they also abuse the market? Well, that is what Europe claims. Yes, Google has been charged with antitrust issues. The European Commission says that Android is forcing smartphone manufacturers to pre-load 11 Google apps on the devices before making them available in the market. They are also forced to set Google Search as the default search engine on the Android devices. What else has Google Europe been accused of?
So has Google really broken the law? Margrethe Vestager, the head of competition policy, European Commission says, “Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of EU antitrust rules.” The commission also believes that the law has been broken by Google Europe by doing the following things:
- Forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Chrome and Google Search as default services on the Android devices
- Restricting manufacturers from selling devices that run on other operating systems that are based on Android’s open source code
- If manufacturers pre-install Google Search on the devices, Google Europe gives them incentives
In defense, Google Europe in its blog post wrote, “Manufacturers who want to participate in the Android ecosystem commit to test and certify that their devices will support Android apps. Without this system, apps wouldn’t work from one Android device to the next. Imagine how frustrating it would be if an app you downloaded on one Android phone didn’t also work on your replacement Android phone from the same manufacturer. ” The post further wrote, “Any manufacturer can then choose to load the suite of Google apps to their device and freely add other apps as well. For example, phones today come loaded with scores of pre-installed apps (from Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google, mobile carriers, and more).”
Android covers 80% of the market in Europe and the dominance might be the same in many other markets. Do you think using its widely spread presence to promote its own services and not allowing competitors to flourish is a right practice?
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