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.
The Nexus 6P has been in and out of stock in the US, but in most of the rest of the world, it's never been in stock at all — until now, that is.
We've received a few tips from our readers that the Nexus 6P is now being sold in the Google Store in several countries across Europe, and possibly even beyond that. So far, we're aware of availability in Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal, but the same should be true for all the countries with the Euro as the official currency. Read More
Living in Europe and being able to easily buy a Nexus device have traditionally been mutually exclusive. With the possible exception of a couple of countries, getting your hands on a Nexus in Europe usually meant having to jump through a million hoops and deal with a very limited availability. Compounded with the fact that basically every other Nexus launch to date has been a fiasco in one way or another, you could count yourself lucky if you managed to grab one in time for Christmas.
Fortunately, Nexus manufacturers and Google have learned from their mistakes, and things have improved greatly compared to previous years. As a whole, preorders in the US went swimmingly, and today — barely a month after the US launch — the Nexus 5X is available to order in Europe. Read More
As had been previously reported, the European Parliament has now taken a vote on and passed a non-binding resolution that, if it should become a regulatory act of the European Commission, would seek to have Google's Search product broken up into a separate company. The motivation behind the resolution, according to the European Parliament's statement, is in "ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market."
What's a digital single market? It is essentially the EU's attempt to regulate how businesses and governments alike should behave on the web, particularly in regards to competition, net neutrality, and privacy. The notion is that, if EU governments agree to regulate the internet in a completely uniform fashion as defined by the EU Commission, fewer economic, regulatory, and competitive roadblocks will exist for startups to flourish, no matter what EU state they're from. Read More
Update: After we reached out to a Google representative, the company gave us the following statement:
We’ve been working closely with the European Commission and consumer protection agencies for the last few months to make improvements to Google Play that will be good for our users and provide better protections for children.
The representative was unable to comment on potential changes for the Play Store in the US or other non-European locations.
Consumer unrest over the prevalence of in-app purchases in free-to-play games has grown as of late, and nowhere is it more apparent than in Europe. The European Commission, the EU's legislative arm, has issued instructions to both Google and Apple to more accurately market the erstwhile "free" games. Read More
If you're traveling between countries in the European Union, there's good news for your wallet: it won't be quite so thoroughly mugged by international roaming charges starting today. After a vote by the European Commission last month, wireless roaming charges for text, data, and voice usage are being forcibly reduced across its 28 member states. Today's policy change will lower maximum roaming charges to 45 European cents per megabyte, 24 cents per outgoing call minute, 7 cents per received call minute, and 8 cents for a text message, plus value-added tax in all cases. Data gets the most dramatic reduction, with an average savings of 36% over last year. Read More
Starting in July 2014, Europeans will be free of burdensome roaming charges as they travel across the European Union's 27 member states. This comes after officials voted to terminate such fees for voice calls, text messages, and internet access as part of a move to create a single European telecoms market. This is great news for French citizens hopping across the border to Germany, but it will have no impact on tourists from outside of the continent. Americans, for example, will still have their roaming fees determined by their carriers back home.
Officials hope that this change will allow Europe to begin consolidating mobile network operators in order to improve the quality of service among member states. Read More
FairSearch Europe—a coalition of Google competitors or legal adversaries including, among others, Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle—has filed a complaint with the European Union alleging that Google is abusing its dominant OS position in the mobile market to push its own set of apps.
The group claims that Android is used "as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today," pointing out that manufacturers have to agree to a certain set of rules requiring inclusion or placement of certain apps. If they want to use Google apps, of course. Manufacturers are free to use Android for whatever purpose they choose without them, if they think that will be a greater benefit. Read More
Motorola announced today through its official community blog that a RAZR "Developer Edition" (evidently based on the original Droid RAZR, not its newer MAXX counterpart) is in the works. The dev-friendly device will carry an unlockable bootloader and is poised to hit European markets relatively soon, with a (yet unspecified) unlockable device bound for the U.S. "in the coming months." Oddly enough, the blog post was pulled (perhaps it was published prematurely; Update: it's live once again), but luckily the text of the post has been retained:
New Motorola RAZR™ Developer Edition will feature unlocked bootloader in Europe
We have some news for the community of people interested in unlockable/relockable bootloaders.