Tuesday, April 13, 2021

EU Investigating Google’s Android Licensing Practices

The Financial Times is claiming to have seen documents related to an EU antitrust investigation of Google. The European Commission has launched several such investigations against Google in recent years; this time, the inquiry is focusing on the company’s Android licensing practices.

Daniel Thomas and Alex Barker with the Financial Times reported, “Google is facing an investigation by European authorities into allegations that it supported the leading Android smartphone platform and its mobile services by means of cut-price licensing and exclusivity deals. According to documents seen by the Financial Times, the Brussels antitrust watchdog has focused on allegedly anti-competitive deals struck between the US technology company and smartphone providers.”

The Telegraph’s Olivia Goldhill added, “The informal investigation, which is in an early stage, follows complaints in April from 14 companies, including Microsoft and Nokia, to the European Commission that Google was using ‘deceptive conduct to lock out competition in mobile.'”

FierceMobileContent’s Jason Ankeny noted, “European Union watchdogs are exploring charges that Google licensed Android software ‘below cost,’ with ‘potential requests by Google to cancel and/or delay the launch of smartphone devices’ based on competing operating systems or shipped with rival mobile services. Investigators will also consider whether Google enforced exclusivity agreements with manufacturing partners to guarantee the pre-installation and placement of core Google services like YouTube.”

CNET quoted Google, which said in a statement, “Android is an open platform that fosters competition. Handset makers, carriers and consumers can decide how to use Android, including which applications they want to use.”

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