The European Union has filed formal antitrust charges against Google regarding its Android operating system. The regulators state that by bundling its own services and making Google Search the default search engine on Android, Google has abused its dominant position, preventing other companies from competing in these segments.
From the press release:
The Commission's preliminary view is that Google has implemented a strategy on mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search. First, the practices mean that Google Search is pre-installed and set as the default, or exclusive, search service on most Android devices sold in Europe.
Second, the practices appear to close off ways for rival search engines to access the market, via competing mobile browsers and operating systems. In addition, they also seem to harm consumers by stifling competition and restricting innovation in the wider mobile space.
A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe. Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google's behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players.
The charges are the latest in a series of antitrust investigations the EU has aimed at Google. Last year, regulators accused Google of abusing its market position in online search, stating that the search giant favored its own comparison shopping service over the competition.
Today's charges pose a significant threat to Google, as they target its mobile search business, which accounts for nearly half of its overall ad revenue. The EU has the power to fine Google up to 10% of its annual revenues, which could amount to a total of over $14 billion on these two cases.