Google Insists Android Plays on Level Field in Europe

...

Google on Thursday fired back at the European Commission's charges that it violated antitrust law by imposing coercive rules on mobile operators and developers who use or write applications for its Android operating system.

The EC this spring charged that Google's requirements to use its search engine and its Chrome browser on mobile devices running Android were coercive tactics.

The EC also charged that Google prevented manufacturers from offering smart devices using rival operating systems based on the Android open source code.

Google has not harmed competition through the way it offers the Android operating system, argued Kent Walker, general counsel for the company.

On the contrary, Google has expanded competition, he said.

"First, the commission's case is based on the idea that Android doesn't compete with Apple's iOS," Walker noted. "We don't see it that way."

Eighty-nine percent of respondents to the EC's own market survey considered Android and Apple as competitors, he pointed out.

The EC's charges ignore the dangers of fragmentation in a mobile ecosystem, Walker said, noting further that the 1.3 million developers active as of 2015 needed a stable and consistent framework to operate in.

Although developers can download and modify Android as they please, the fragmentation that creates has led to problems for operating systems like Unix and Symbian, he observed.

"When anybody can modify your code, how do you ensure there's a common, consistent version of the operating system, so that developers don't have to go through the hassle and expense of building multiple versions of their apps?" Walker asked.

Apple and Microsoft offer less choice of apps on their phones, he maintained.

Android usually accounts for only one-third of preloaded apps, he said. Consumers can download apps they want to use, and the average user downloads an additional 50 apps over the lifetime of a device. Consumers downloaded 65 billion apps from Google Play in 2015, an average of 175 million a day.

However, there are deep divisions within the tech industry and the open source community about the impact Android has left on competition.

Android actually is a closed system, and any claim to the contrary is disingenuous, said Thomas Vinje, counsel to digital rights group Fair Search.

"Google imposes severe sanctions on those who defy its insistence on conformity," he pointed out.

Phone makers that offer even a few phones that fail to comply with Google's "straightjacket" are cut off from all Google-branded products, according to Vinje.

The EU seems be taking a fairly aggressive stance toward Google on other issues as well, noted Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Google has the facts on its side, he acknowledged, but it's questionable how much that will matter in the end.

"It's hard to envision a scenario in which the company emerges completely unscathed," Castro told the E-Commerce Times.

One of the reasons apps have been concentrated on Google devices is that consumers want what they need in one place, argued Karol Severin, an analyst at Midia Research.

"No matter how many searches or OSes are out there, the best ones are bound to rise to the top and start acting like chip leaders if they can," he told the E-Commerce Times.

The Google argument that Android competes with Apple's iOS is almost the same argument that Microsoft gave when it argued that it competed against the Mac OS in a separate case involving Windows, recalled Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

"Ironically, then Google was one of the firms pushing for the adverse Microsoft judgment, while Apple actually defended Microsoft," he told the E-Commerce Times.

The EC was in receipt of Google's response, spokesperson Ricardo Cardoso confirmed to the E-Commerce Times, and in keeping with its standard practice, it would give careful consideration to the company's arguments before deciding how to move forward.

David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain's New York Business and The New York Times.

Categories
Guide
0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Captcha image


RELATED BY

  • 5300c769af79e

    Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints

    Offered through the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, a request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March.With LPTA, "the government does not give much extra consideration for superior technical proposals," said attorney Theodore Watson of Watson & Associates.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Airport Kiosks Let You Exchange Foreign Currency for iTunes Credits

    If you're headed back to the US and have a bunch of foreign coins jangling around in your pocket, don't just bunch of random crap at the airport or keep that foreign currency as a souvenir.As CNET reports, kiosks are popping up in airports around the world that let you exchange leftover currency for things like Google Play, iTunes, and Skype gift cards.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Microsoft Outlook Comes to Android Wear Via New Watch Face

    After launching last August for the Apple Watch, Microsoft has now introduced Outlook to Android Wear and your current smartwatch.With this introduction, Microsoft is really giving you a whole new watch face that has Outlook embedded within, hoping that you will let Outlook control your day.
  • 5300c769af79e

    Adobe Photoshop Express (for iPhone)

    But don't be misled by the name into thinking of Photoshop Express as a mobile version of the main Photoshop CC program.Compare Similar ProductsCompare Flickr (for iPhone) %displayPrice% Instagram (for iPhone) %displayPrice% PicsArt (for iPhone) %displayPrice% Adobe Photoshop Fix (for iPad) %displayPrice% Adobe Photoshop Mix (for iPad) %displayPrice% EyeEm (for iPhone) %displayPrice% For more advanced tools such as blur effects and local adjustments, Adobe offers other apps, such as Lightroom Mobile, Mix, and Fix.