On Tuesday, we brought you a report that Turkey’s Competition Board had opened an investigation into alleged violation of the country’s competition law. Well, the dust raised by that report was yet to die down when the Open Internet Project comprising of Axel Springer and Getty Images petitioned the European Commission, claiming anti-competitive control on Android smartphone manufacturers, reports Reuters.
The OIP in a statement per Reuters, urged the European Union to take necessary actions against Google:
“Google once again, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators, aiming to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search.”
A spokesperson, Ricardo Cardoso, of the EU, said the body would look into the petition. Though, no specific timeframe has been fixed by which an answer would be provided, this is expected to take another couple of months, maybe weeks; depending on a couple of factors.
Google, as expected, would issue a statement or attempt to defend its stand, which has always been the case.
Most Android phones all over the world come pre-installed with Google apps—limiting the ability of competitors from competing on a level playing field. In April 2015, Google’s Android OS came under scrutiny from Margarethe Vestager—European Commission’s antitrust commissioner. The commission is tightening its noose on the tech giant, and is beaming more searchlight on its mobile operating system.
Vestager said during a conference held in the Netherland two years ago that the Commission is now “closely” monitoring the company’s contract with carriers and mobile manufacturers. The Commission’s concern is aimed at requirements Google places on its partners to have devices pre-installed with its apps.
“Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.”
Authorities in Russia recently slammed a fine of $6.75 million on Google for violating its antitrust rules on mobile phones and tablets. Google’s problem with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) began in 2015 when Yandex (Russia’s version of Google, and one of the biggest search engines in the world) filed a complaint against it. The Russian search giant was unhappy with Google’s requirement for both tablet and smartphone for manufacturers to install Search, Maps, and other services as part of Google Play Store package.
Following complaints filed by Yandex, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service issued Google a one-month ultimatum in October 2015 to get rid of apps from phones—an order in which the company failed to comply with. Google’s reason for not complying with the order was based on how revenue generated from ads from its services helps it to cover costs of offering its popular Android operating system to users at no cost.