FTC Continues To Android Antitrust Probe

The US Federal Trade Commission has recently met with several companies to look at mobile industry concerns that Alphabet Inc.’s Google has abused their dominance over Android devices. This now extends an existing probe which began last year, examining issues in Viagra for Healthy Male Online – Get Cheap Viagra for sale! the United States which are similar to those posed by regulators in Europe.

In fact, European regulators charge Google just last week with improperly using Android’s status as the most popular smartphone operating system in the world.  This abuse comes in the form of forcing device makers and wireless carriers to favor Google programs like the Google search engine and other Android services.

FTC - androidAccording to European commissioner for competition, Margerethe Vestager, “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, in breach of E.U. antitrust rules.”

But while this may have been the findings in the United Kingdom, the US FTC could reach very different conclusions.  After all, Europe’s competition laws actually afford antitrust enforcement officials more power in taking action against dominant companies who might abuse that status.

New York University law professor studies antitrust issues and he says the central difficulty for regulators is that the current tech world has drastically changed since the Microsoft antitrust case. At that time, he says, Microsoft found its way to surpass rivlas like Netscape by bundling Internet Explorer along with the Windows operating system, as well as by using licenses and payments to stop other computer makers from installing browsers from the competition.

He remarks: “In the Microsoft era people were unfamiliar with downloading, and nothing was as effective as getting the browser installed by the O.E.M.s (original equipment makers).”

Furthermore, he notes, “But now, I’d be surprised if people aren’t fully at ease with downloading things from app stores, and people are familiar with having more than one app on their phone that does the same thing.”  For example, some people like Google Hangouts as the default messaging app (which comes preloaded on Android devices) but it is far from the most popular messaging service. He continues, “The E.U. has to tell an exclusion story, but it’s hard for me to see the exclusion story here.”

Basically, the evidence so far suggests that Android—while, perhaps somewhat resistant to competition, as any large company might be—has not made significant effort to prevent this competition.