Google faces EU antitrust probe over Android licensing

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.

TOPICS: Android, Google, EU

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, Google, EU

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If Google is pressuring mobile makers

    then they're 1990's Microsoft.

    Then again, a lot of companies are making Windows Phone 8 devices, so I'm not sure.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • If it wasn't for the antitrust scruteny MS faced, there would be no Google

      MS would have just bought them up or locked them out of Windows. But they couldn't. And now we consumers are reaping the rewards that competition brings. Both MS and Google make cutting edge products that are almost certainly better because they have to duke it out with each other.

      I see all this scrutiny of Google as a good thing, just as I saw all the scrutiny of MS as a good thing a decade and a half ago.
      x I'm tc
    • Goog ol' Microsoft

      "then they're 1990's Microsoft." What's wrong with Microsoft 2013? DId they get sick or something? Have they changed? Not much at all.
      Some hints:
      -- NDAs with OEMs for preinstalled Windows licences, MS even changed EULA to remove a user's right to decline it.
      -- Consider their NDAs with Android OEMs, that are just patent trolling. Those that try to speak up, get lavish rewards to shut up (B&N).
      • "MS even changed EULA to remove a user's right to decline it"

        I didn't hear about that. Time for DoJ to come back and look at them again.

        M$ = dirty, sleazy corporation
        • you can check

          this with every first use of Windows 8. When presented with the MS EULA, notice only one option present "Agree".
        • At least their not as dirty and sleazy a corporation

          as Google.

          If you look up dirty or sleazy in the dictionary, the Google logo is right there as the example.
          William Farrel
          • No, they're even dirtier

            They don't control my hardware.

            They need to be sued. BIG TIME.
          • For what?

            Just wondering.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Wonder somewhere else, little man

          • you reached the limit of

            You understanding? Oh that's sad.
            Emmanuel Fransson
          • Violating MS' and Apple's business models

            Isn't that reason enough?
            John L. Ries
          • What a fair and balanced post

            I congratulate you on your complete impartiality.
            John L. Ries
          • farrel is a microsoft shill.. so you can discount his opinion.

            Microsoft = twice convicted monopolist who has crushed hundreds of companies in it's wake by free competitive apps.. (like netscape /IE) also started most of the patent litigation that we are suffering for and makes more money from android than Google.

            Google = never convicted of anything.. hasn't locked anyone out of any of their industries.. paid millions for things like WebM and gave free rights to all to use it in place of propriety software.

            Only shills or possibly blind/deaf people would say Microsoft is a better world citizen than Google.
          • Convicted monopolist?

            That isn't even a real legal term. You're convicted of things that are illegal, being a monopoly is not illegal. I don't even understand why that term is thrown around so much.

            Also, the rest of your post is just lacking in any real logic. "Well, they haven't been found guilty of anything yet... so they're all good" and "Well, they paid millions for WebM and gave it away for free..." don't even add up to a good argument.

            I also find it weird that you bash Microsoft for "offering free competitive apps" and then praise Google for giving away things for free.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Convicted monopolist

            Doesn't have to be a "legal term". You know what it means. Quit playing dumb.
          • He might be

            But I doubt you know that and even if he was, it doesn't invalidate his stated opinion (though there might be other reasons why his opinion are invalid).
            John L. Ries
    • The EU has long used Google to leverage MS for cash

      But as the EU economies crater they will start to see google as an alternate cash source of its own. Socialism is not self sustaining, it requires either continual cash infusions from capitalists or dictatorship. You can bet as communist/socialist fronting unions gain power cash grabs will continue. Look out apple. Look out people who have worked hard and saved your whole lives. Better move your cash out of their reach.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Lots of people make that claim...

        ...and lots of them appear to be swindlers.
        John L. Ries
        • Which claim are you talking about? The poster above made a bunch

          of statements.

          Why not clarify what you mean?
          • Hide your money from Big Bad Government...

            ...and make the high yield, low risk profit you deserve!
            John L. Ries