Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle and others call Android 'a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps'
A group of Google's competitors have sent an antitrust complaint to the EU, claiming that the search giant's licensing of the Android OS and Google Apps give its mobile apps an unfair advantage. Reports from the New York Times say Fairsearch Europe, which consists of Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, TripAdvisor and others, accuses Google of using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today.”
According to today's NYT report, Fairsearch's lead lawyer, Thomas Vinje says OEMs wanting to use Google mobile apps (e.g. YouTube, Gmail, Chrome) on their Android devices "face contractual requirements" to use all these apps and give them "prominent placement" on their home screens. The suite of Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps are, of course, licensed separately to the Android OS, the source code of which is available freely.
Fairsearch pulls no punches in a press release this morning, claiming "Google’s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform." It goes on to say the prominent placement of Google apps on devices running GMS apps "disadvantages other providers."
Following the filing of a complaint, the European Commission must now decide whether to take up the case against Google, the paper reports.
The news comes in the midsts of an existing EU antitrust inquiry into Google's web search practices, in which it's claimed the company abused its position to push its own web-based services. According to the NYT, antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said the EU was already looking into Android separately to the web search complaint.