Google’s hot summer never ends: EC to launch ANOTHER antitrust inquiry against the American giant

The word "Google" in the hall of the main entrance of the "Google Partner Plex" in San Francisco, during José Manuel Barroso's, President of the EC, visit last May (EC Audiovisual Services, 1/05/2014)

The word “Google” in the hall of the main entrance of the “Google Partner Plex” in San Francisco, during José Manuel Barroso’s, President of the EC, visit last May (EC Audiovisual Services, 1/05/2014)

We must admit it: this is not exactly a quiet summer for Google. Not in the Old Continent at least. After the “Right To Be Forgotten” case has disturbed Google’s top management’s sleep recently, a new dark cloud may come soon.

According to Reuters, the Mountain View, California-based company may soon face a new probe by European antitrust regulators over business practices related to Android. Citing anonymous sources, Reuters revealed that European regulators are allegedly investigating whether Google abuses its strong position in the mobile operating system space to promote its own services over those developed by rivals.
Regulators have allegedly sent questionnaires to those who have had business dealings with Google, like telecom companies and phone manufacturers among others, to understand whether Google is forcing them into promoting its own services.

And therefore abusing the 80 percent market share of its Android mobile operating system. “Anyone can use Android without Google, and anyone can use Google without Android”. This was the first comment that Google made public through one of its spokespersons in a statement. But a Reuters source says that if companies want timely updates, they must sign a contract agreeing to pre-install a minimum number of Google apps.

Although nothing has already happened yet and the probe is still only a threat for Google, the matter looks serious. If evidence is found that indicates Google is guilty of forcing hardware partners to install Google apps and services rather than their own ones, then the American giant could be facing a full antitrust investigation that could have enormous effects on the entire mobile devices world.

Many say that the key lies on the election of the new Competition Chief of the European Commission, next November. In fact all of this is happening while the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for competition issues, Joaquín Almunia, is getting ready to leave. Almunia himself faced widespread criticism for being “too mild” with Google during a previous case.

Google has been indeed under investigation previously for another unfair-competition-related case, when the company was accused of irregularly promoting their own products and services in the web-based search engine. Google then offered to give more prominence to links of competing services, an offer that has been fiercely criticized by rivals and detractors, with a final decision expected to come in September. The next man or woman to cover the position that Almunia currently chairs will be surely decisive to understand whether the world’s most popular search-engine will face another huge challenge soon, and most of all to learn more about the official position of the EU on antitrust and fair competition matters. Which is something incredibly important.

The European Commission’s officials are not losing time now anyway. The questions contained in the questionnaires sent to Google’s competitors are reported to be very clear-cut. In one questionnaire seen by Reuters, respondents were asked whether there was a requirement set by Google, written or unwritten, that they not “pre-install apps, products or services on mobile devices that compete with Google”.

What is clear now is that Google is facing enormous criticism in Europe about almost everything. From tax policy to privacy, from freedom of expression to licence regulation, the Californian company is under the spot light.

But this time is different. Android is a different thing, because this matter is a very delicate “battlefield”. Mobile is indeed the key market for Google and Android represents a crucial channel for Google to extend its search engine into the mobile world. When Android was purchased, almost ten years ago, the mission was crystal clear: Google basically wanted to enter the mobile market, an enormous space where to push its product and services. The thing worked, and the success was immense. As of 2011, Android had the largest installed base of any mobile OS and as of 2013, its devices also were selling more than Windows, iOS and Mac OS devices combined. At Google I/O 2014, the company revealed that there were over 1 billion active monthly Android users.

Now mobile represents the kind of challenge that can’t be ignored and an Android investigation by the European Commission would be quite a turbulence for Google.

It’s not clear yet what steps regulators might take if they find Google is violating antitrust law. Whatever will be in Google’s future it’s anyway evident that this case may represent a milestone in Europe’s antitrust regulation history, which is by the way trying currently to catch up with the frenetic rhythms of technology evolutions.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

Britain and Germany change attitude towards the European Union

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

Minority governments ‘à la mode’ in Europe but can they last long?

“Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” Finally a name and a number to answer Henry Kissinger’s question

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Deutsche Bank: the next financial crisis is here and the lenders need €150 billion from taxpayers

The European Commission to stop Buffering

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

Will ECB win against low inflation by not following Quantitave Easing?

EU responds to terror fallout by eroding borderless Europe and molesting the refugees

EU Parliament and Council: Close to agreement on the bank resolution mechanism

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

Making money from meeting the SDGs? An overarching approach to sustainable development.

EU’s Mogherini visits Turkey “to step up engagement” and highlight interests

Diana in Vietnam

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

“China is the only BRICS country to have either met or possibly slightly surpassed my expectations”, BRICS inventor Jim O’ Neil from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Resisting EU budget cuts

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Council’s position on Visa Directive a step back for young people’s mobility

Civil society organisations disenchanted with “Youth Guarantee”

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

Zhua Zhou: Choosing The Future

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Banks cannot die but can be fined

Competing with Apple and leading innovation: Google’s world replies to EU on android charges

Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

My unlimited China

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

Is it impossible to place the banks under control?

Who cares more about taxpayers? The US by being harsh on major banks or the EU still caressing them?

Schaeuble wants IMF out and bailouts ‘a la carte’ with Germany only to gain

The strong version of the EU banking union gains momentum

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Who and why want the EU-US trade agreement here and now

Draghi reserved about Eurozone’s growth prospects

“At the Environment Assembly citizens expect clean, not hot air”, the Head of UN Environment in Europe underscores in a Sting Exclusive

Q&A on the 19th China-EU Summit to be held on 01-02 June 2017 in Brussels

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

EU’s unsparing question to UK: now what kind of future relations do you want?

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

The consequences of Brexit seen by a European young entrepreneur

EU readies for eventual annulment of the Turkish agreement on immigrants-refugees

Learn from the margin, not the center: digital innovation with social impact as transformative force bridging digital divide

Tiny Iceland teaches the West how to treat bankers

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

A long German political winter is on the way

Youth and children in Europe set the new perspectives for the decades to come

EU-US to miss 2015 deadline and even lose Germany’s support in TTIP’s darkest week yet

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s