Google faces EU antitrust probe over Android licensing

Summary:The executive body is reportedly looking at how Google licenses Android, such as the "potential requests" to cancel or delay the launch of rival platforms.

Google faces yet another antitrust probe in the European Union: this time Android is on the cards, specifically how the search giant dishes it out to device makers.

According to documents seen by the Financial Times (paywall), the Android maker is currently under a preliminary spotlight to determine if it had struck anti-competitive deals with smartphone manufacturers.

The EU's Competition Commission is following up from recent complaints from Microsoft and Nokia, which are in partnership with each other to develop Windows Phone devices, which allege licensing the open-source mobile operating system "below cost."

The second and more damaging allegation claims Google requested its partners "cancel and/or delay the launch of smartphone devices" running rival platforms in order to get ahead.

Thirdly, the Commission will also determine whether Google imposed exclusivity deals with mobile manufacturers to include the company's mobile services often supplied with the platform, such as YouTube. 

If Google is found to have flouted EU antitrust rules, it could ultimately face fine of up to 10 percent of its global annual turnover for infringing years.

Google is already under scrutiny from the European regulators over its search business. Its vertical search business and how it promotes its own services were under check by the Commission. While the firm has so far avoided paying massive fines in the region, the EU is reportedly looking at asking for further concessions from the search giant to satisfy its concerns.

According to a Google statement given to sister site CNET: "Android is an open platform that fosters competition. Handset makers, carriers and consumers can decide how to use Android, including which applications they want to use."

Topics: Android, EU, Google

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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