Google's ongoing regulatory headaches in the EU have today resulted in a whopping $2.7 billion fine, the most significant regulatory penalty in the EU since the 2004 Microsoft decision. This fine stems from Google's handling of shopping searches and the way its own comparison tools are allegedly given preferential treatment. It's now up to Google to change its search practices, and that could affect the way it operates in other regions as well. Read More
Odds are that your phone has some Qualcomm silicon in it, and even if it doesn't the baseband processor (modem) probably includes some technology licensed from Qualcomm. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now says that the way Qualcomm manages those patents amounts to anti-competitive behavior, and it's taking the company to court over it. Read More
Last April the European Commission, the EU's executive body, issued a statement criticizing Google's management of Android. The Commission accused Google of facilitating monopolistic practices, specifically by tying the Play Store, the Android version of Chrome, and other common Google apps to Google's Search services among licensed Android manufacturers. Keeping manufacturers from releasing forks of Android as a condition of participating in the Google ecosystem - a process which Google calls "anti-fragmentation" - was also an issue. It took a while, but Google has finally published a full response to the Commission. Read More
It's no secret that Android is heavily integrated with Google search. Google Now (soon to be Google Assistant) is the primary voice assistant, and Google search is included on every device with the Google Play Store. According to Reuters, Google also pays device manufacturers to keep Google as the only search application on Android devices, and the European Union isn't thrilled.
EU antitrust regulators are ordering Google's parent company, Alphabet, to cease providing incentives to keep Google search installed exclusively on Android devices. A 150+ page EU document outlines the issue, stating that Google "cannot punish or threaten" manufacturers for not complying with its conditions. Read More
Russia began investigating Google for antitrust violations last year after the largest search engine in the country, Yandex, complained to authorities. It alleged that Google's promotion of its own services over alternatives (like Yandex) on Android was anti-competitive. Now, the Russian Federation Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has issued a $6.8 million fine against Google. Surely, this will bankrupt the company. Read More
Google is no stranger to legal conflict in Europe: between accusations of monopolistic practices with Android and web search tools, to a forced implementation of the European Union's "right to be forgotten" laws, to butting heads with German privacy advocates over Street View data, it's safe to say that the company's relationship with the continent is... complicated. The latest complication comes from the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, which will reportedly hand down an unprecedented fine over Google's alleged violations of antitrust laws. Read More
Today, the EU filed antitrust charges against Google related to the Android mobile operating system. The internet is absolutely alight - both for and against the allegations the European Commission has levied at our favorite search company that also makes our favorite mobile operating system. The key complaints boil down to three core ideas.
- Google requires manufacturers to bundle Google Chrome and Google Search, and set Google as the default search provider on their devices if they are GMS (Google Mobile Services) partners. This, allegedly, reduces competition for apps that perform similar or identical functions.
- Google does not allow manufacturers to both be GMS partners and produce incompatible "forks" of Android on other, non-GMS devices.
In the beginning, there was Android. Android was an open-source, largely hardware-agnostic operating system designed to work on a variety of devices and form-factors, and then Google bought the company that made it (also called Android, founded by Andy Rubin). Then, there was Google's Android. Google's Android was still open source, but now it came with stuff you'd actually want to use. Like an app store. And Google Maps. And Gmail. And Google Search. And did I mention Android itself was and is still open source? Because it was and is, and will continue to be likely for many, many, many years into the future. Read More
After a five year investigation of the search giant, European regulators are expected to launch an official antitrust case against Google tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal reports EU Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager will make the announcement tomorrow (Wednesday the 15th). Google will then be served with a "statement of objection" and charge sheet. At that point, the lawyers will begin legal wrangling that is sure to last years.
The plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against Google have dropped their case after losing in an initial ruling. Just over a month ago, we reported on Google's win. The federal judge overseeing the case ruled in Google's favor, but the plaintiffs had one last chance to change their arguments before the case was closed. Instead, they have decided to withdraw.
A group of consumers accused Google of anticompetitive practices in the distribution of Android due to the stipulation that their search engine must be default in order for the OEM to load the Play Store on devices. The problem here, the plaintiffs allege, is that this precludes competing search providers from being default. Read More