Competitors take issue with Google's licensing terms for Android

Google and Android are once again the target of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, this time because of allegations that Google used anticompetitive tactics to expand its mobile market share. While it is only an informal probe at this point, the EC is investigating claims from Google's competitors -- such as Microsoft and Nokia -- that it licenses Android to manufacturers below cost, giving it an unfair advantage. The allegations continue, stating that Google also makes demands of its licensees that they give specific placement to Google's other apps, such as Youtube, and not allow them to use other services, which again gives it unfair advantage.

Google makes Android open-source and licenses it to manufacturers for free, and while that may seem like a way to be absolved of any wrongdoing its competitors see it as a great example of Google's anticompetitive tactics.

Because Google doesn't make money from Android directly but rather from services such as Youtube and Google Search that are used via Android, these companies claim Google is using Android as a means to expand its presence in the mobile market and drive usage on these other properties. On the surface it seems like simple differences in business plans rather than blatant anticompetitive behavior, but that's up to the EC to decide. Specifics of the probe aren't yet known, but it wouldn't be surprising to see this informal probe expand into a full investigation of the company's tactics. 

Source: Financial Times; Via: AllThingsD