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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

Italian banks: It’s Rome’s turn to confront Berlin’s aggressiveness

Scotland in United Kingdom: It’s either the end or the beginning of the end

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

Germany and France only care about keeping their borrowing cheap

The impact of refugees on the European healthcare system

G20 LIVE: the EU trade gold rush continues as EU and Australia agree to launch Free Trade Agreement (FTA) live from Antalya Turkey

Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission

EU should invest more in climate and not sit back on its laurels and watch

The EU Parliament backs the ‘Right2Water’ initiative all the way through

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

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

CDNIFY @ TheNextWeb 2014

The developing countries keep the world going

COP21 Breaking News_08 December: Cities & Regions Launch Major Five-Year Vision to Take Action on Climate Change

“The Sea is vast as it admits all rivers”, Ambassador Yang Yanyi of the Chinese Mission to EU gives her farewell address in Brussels

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

EU plans pan-European network of cybersecurity services

EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

EU-US resume trade negotiations under the spell of NSA surveillance

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

ECB settles the bank resolution issue, makes banking union tangible

Germany openly seeks more advantages for its banks

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

Access to health in the developping world

Hundreds of thousands migrants ready to cross the Mediterranean. Only a local matter?

Deutsche Bank slammed by the US-based trio of IMF, Fed and Moody’s

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

Five years down the drain

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Google’s bare truth: Europe’s Chief denies EU accusations but admits they “don’t always get it right”

The Parliament defies a politically biased Banking Union

European Commissioner for Youth wants young people to be at heart of policy making

Draghi drafts a plan to donate more money to bankers, the era of ‘money for nothin’ is flourishing

Asking for more restriction on intra EU immigration: Unproductive and politically dangerous

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

ITU Telecom World 2017 on 25-28 September in Busan, Republic of Korea

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Employment contracts today are a reducing share of the workforce”, scientists worry in Davos that the 4th industrial revolution threatens employment globally

Hardened creditors drive Greece to dire straits; Tsipras desperate for an agreement

How populist and xenophobic movements in the EU tear apart European businesses and startups

Medicine and mental health: relax, the doctor is a lifelong learner

Eurozone recession subsides

EU to Telcos: Stop Mergers and Acquisitions but please help me urgently with 5G development

Germany to help China in trade disputes with Brussels

Juncker and Tusk killed Greece on 07 July 2015 to meet the Commission’s summer vacation plan? #Grexit #Greferendum #Graccident

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Why exchange programs are essential for the medical students of the 21st century

EU legislation protecting home buyers approved in Parliament

Eurogroup: IMF proposes Germany disposes

Income inequality threatens the socio-political structures in developed countries

Junior Enterprises as a solution for Youth Entrepreneurship

Collaboration: the key to success in the digital economy

The Commission tells Berlin it is legally obliged to help Eurozone out of stagnation

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

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