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Google Formally charged with Abusing Android Market Dominance by EU

Google Formally charged with Abusing Android Market Dominance by EU
As was expected and reported widely, the European Union opened up a second front against Google that could lead to large fines if found guilty as the European commission charged the U.S. technology giant with abusing the dominant position of its Android mobile operating system on Wednesday.
The specific allegation against the U.S. company is that it was denying consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and stifling innovation by requiring mobile phone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser, said the European Union antitrust regulators while filing the allegations and a case against the company which is already facing another similar case with the EU antitrust commission.
In a case that has dragged on since late 2010 despite three attempts to resolve the issues, Google is already facing EU charges over the promotion of its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services.
According to estimates by financial analyst Richard Windsor, last year Google made about $11 billion from advertising sales on Android phones through its apps such as Maps, Search and Gmail and therefore the stakes are much higher for the US tech giant in the Android case compared to the other one.
"A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe. 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," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Internet Explorer-browser maker Microsoft Corp declined to comment.
There were no comments to the media from suppliers of browsers including Mozilla, which is behind Firefox, as well as Apple, with its Safari browser, and Norway's Opera Software.
Android, the operating system developed by Google, is used in about 80 percent of smart mobile devices in Europe and the world, said the European Commission.
Android was a remarkable system based on open-source software and open innovation, said Google in a statement issued by it. The company has 12 weeks to respond to the charges made by the EU.
"We look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate that Android is good for competition and good for consumers," Google's general counsel Kent Walker said.
Google was now hindering the development of versions that might lead to new operating systems able to compete with Android, said FairSearch, the lead complainant, even as it said that Google had launched Android as an open source project.
By preventing phone manufacturers from selling mobiles running competing operating systems based on the Android open source code and by making phone manufacturers pre-install its search function and Chrome browser, Google has breached EU antitrust rules, alleged the Commission.
Offering and giving of financial incentives to manufacturers and network operators to pre-install Google Search exclusively on devices is another charge that the EU has laid on Google.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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