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The European Commission has instigated an antitrust investigation into Google relating to the company’s Android business practices. The action taken by the Commission follows a preliminary investigation conducted of its own volition, which suggests that there is evidence to indicate that Google may well have abused its dominant position in the mobile market and hindered fair competition within the European Union.
Announcing the formal investigation into Google’s Android business practices, the Commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said: “Smartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasing role in many people’s daily lives and I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anticompletive constraints imposed by any company.”
The sentiment of the Commission’s statement brought about a sense of déjà vu, as a decade ago Microsoft fell foul of competition law within the EU when it was adjudged to have wielded its monopolistic powers illegally. As a result, Microsoft had to change the way it bundled its products, licensed the Windows operating system, and conducted business in the region. If a precedent has been set, then Google may have to unbundle some of its key services, such as Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Docs, and provide consumers with more choice, just as Microsoft was forced to do in the desktop era.
The Commission’s investigation into Google’s Android business practices will focus on three key questions:
This new investigation comes on the back of an existing antitrust case relating to Google’s favoring of its own comparison shopping product in its general search results page. Google has to convince the Commission to the contrary or change its business practices in Europe. It looks like 2015 is going to be a challenging year for Google in the EU, and the Commission’s Android investigation is likely to spark fresh debate in the US too.
Richard Edwards, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Mobility & Productivity
Consumer & Entertainment Services
By Adam Thomas 28 Mar 2018
With US pay TV having endured the worst year in its history, thoughts have inevitably turned to the future. The likelihood remains that the immediate future will remain highly uncomfortable for everyone except the scaled multinational digital platforms.
By Evan Kirchheimer 26 Apr 2018
Service provider interest in justifying 5G investment through its potential to open new revenue streams from the enterprise segment is growing ever greater.
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