In addition to sending its Statement of Objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services in the Europe, European Commission has started the in-depth investigation that will focus on whether Google has breached EU antitrust rules by hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems, applications and services to the detriment of consumers and developers of innovative services and products.
Following the receipt of two complaints, as well as an initial investigation carried out by the Commission on its own initiative, the Commission has now opened a formal investigation to assess if certain conditions in Google’s agreements associated with the use of Android and Google’s proprietary applications and services breach EU antitrust rules.
More specifically, on the basis of the information currently available to the Commission, the investigation will at this stage focus on the following three allegations:
- whether Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival mobile applications or services by requiring or incentivising smartphone and tablet manufacturers to exclusively pre-install Google’s own applications or services;
- whether Google has prevented smartphone and tablet manufacturers who wish to install Google’s applications and services on some of their Android devices from developing and marketing modified and potentially competing versions of Android (so-called “Android forks”) on other devices, thereby illegally hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems and mobile applications or services;
- whether Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival applications and services by tying or bundling certain Google applications and services distributed on Android devices with other Google applications, services and/or application programming interfaces of Google.
This is a great news for Microsoft. If found guilty, Google will be forced to change their business practices which will open up the OS and apps/services market for Microsoft and others.