Can a software maker require a hardware maker to pre-install its software apps on a device as a condition of doing business? We’ll find out.
The European Union, which is taking digital privacy seriously, is now attacking on another front. With a whopping $5 billion fine against Google, added to a $2.8 billion fine from last year, Google is on the defensive again.
The current fine is about anti-trust over business practices it has used to give the Android operating system a dominant market position. The EU regulatory commission says that by using restrictive licensing practices, Google precludes other competitors from gaining access on Android devices. In the complaint, it says Google paid some manufacturers for exclusivity, including preventing them from selling devices with other versions of its Android software, and forcing bundles of software to be included.
The previous fine was about practices on Google Shopping where owned products were featured to the determinate of competitors.
It may not be over: MediaPost reported this morning that “Observers expect more European fines to be issued soon, related to Google’s online display advertising contracts”
Android has created more choice, not less, Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded in a blog post.
“Today, the European Commission issued a competition decision against Android, and its business model. The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission’s own market survey confirmed. It also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones.” – Google CEO Sundar Pichai