Google denied on Thursday allegations of antitrust officials from Europe to Android, the company’s dominant mobile operating system, was used to promote its own services wrongly, as online search and smart phone application store above those of competitors.
The Silicon Valley company said the customers and mobile phone makers could easily switch to the services of competitors and the use of rival smart phone applications, but rivals have thwarted by such suggestions.
“The Android ecosystem careful balance between the interests of users, developers, hardware makers and mobile operators,” Kent Walker, general counsel for Google, said in a blog post on Thursday. “Android is no harm competition, it has expanded it. ”
If the cost (and denials) sound familiar, it’s because they are.
For years, European authorities investigated Microsoft on whether the company has abused its dominant position to promote its own services. Microsoft eventually – some say reluctantly – agreed to give rivals better access.
As in the case of Google, Europe’s antitrust officials put themselves in the middle of the way people, both in the region and further afield, used digital services. European officials have said that the practices of the two companies not only rivals stopped in direct competition, but also limits consumer choice and, in the case of Google, hindered innovation in the fast growing mobile world.
The cases against Google and Microsoft, are not identical.
In 2009, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, charged Microsoft with unfairly bundling its Internet Explorer browser with its Windows software, a move that officials said reduced consumer choice.
The claims came on the heels of a separate antitrust investigation into whether Microsoft broke EU competition rules by unfairly promote Windows Media Player than alternatives offered by rivals.
In April, the European competition authorities notified of the search giant with unfair use of Android, which holds an approximately 75 percent share of the smart phone market region, to promote its own digital services over those of rivals.
Margrethe Vestager, antitrust chief of the European Union, said that Google was obliged a number of mobile phone manufacturers to save the services of the company preinstall, including the Google Play smart phone application, and given this unfair financial incentives promoting Google services on their mobile devices.
At the time cost of 2009 Microsoft tried – unsuccessfully – to cement his place in the world of Internet services. That included automatically with Internet Explorer included with every version of Windows, which was then used for about 90 percent of all computers worldwide. Internet Explorer held more than a 50 percent share of the European market browser when the charges were filed.
Google Android is hoping it will be an advantage over rivals such as Facebook in the mobile market. The question is whether the company impeded competition by requiring cellphone makers to use services such as online search and the mobile version of Chrome, if they wanted to use for other products such as Google Play.
Google says that people easily rival services can download them it does not restrict the use of applications from competitors. The company says that relationships with mobile phone manufacturers are voluntary and it does not receive direct payments for the use of the Android software from these companies.
The (potential) Fines
If you control the Internet Explorer case, Microsoft created an online portal in 2009. This way, people could choose freely between different browsers.
It did the job, but some of its Windows software in 2011 and was hit with a further $ 730 million penalty in 2013 for failing to respect the original antitrust settlement. In total he has paid $ 3.4 billion fine for antitrust abuses to the European Commission.
Google: If found violated stiff competition from European rules, Google could become a fine up to $ 7500000000, or 10 percent of its annual revenue, while European officials have generally charged much smaller penalties in previous cases.
after the opening himself to lose more competition, Microsoft quickly began ground to competitors, especially Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome is now the region’s main Internet browser, and Internet Explorer has about 10 percent market share.
These changes were caused not only by the European competition investigation. Microsoft also to keep pace with rivals like Google and Facebook, not managed by acceleration successful shift to mobile (including the disastrous acquisition, and subsequent write-down of mobile phone services unit Nokia in 2014) and was stabbing in lengthy antitrust lawsuit in both the United States and Europe.
This is still in the air. Much will depend on the outcome of the Android antitrust case and any likely action by Google. An initial decision is expected sometime late next year at the earliest (the company also faces two separate competition charges relating to some of its online search operations).
If it is found to have broken EU rules, the company could face financial penalties, requires its mobile operating system, or change both.
There is much at stake for Google. It has much of its future growth on the mobile paired with Android at the heart of most of these activities. Other US technology companies like Facebook and Amazon are also fighting to win people’s attention on smartphones.
So any restrictions on the mobile ambitions of Google, in Europe or outside the region, are likely to be concerned about increasing the growth plans of the company.