Is Android a ‘Trojan horse’? Microsoft consortium accuses Google of mobile monopoly

10/04/2013

Microsoft is leading a consortium of 17 companies to petition a European antitrust investigation into Google’s dominance of mobile Internet usage on smartphones.

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The complaint describes Google's Android operating system as a "Trojan horse", offered to device makers for free. In return they are "required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone," the complaint reads.

The “FairSearch” initiative of 17 companies – which also includes Nokia and Oracle – claims Google is acting unfairly by giving away its Android operating system to mobile device companies on the condition that the US online giant’s own software applications like YouTube and Google Maps are installed and prominently displayed.

"We are asking the commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market," said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel for FairSearch.
"Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google's Android operating system," he added.

Android is now the dominant mobile operating system, accounting for 70% of the market, according to research firm Gartner.

The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and antitrust authority, must at some point decide whether to take up the case or drop it. A spokesman confirmed the complaint had been received.

In response to the accusations, Google said in a statement: “We continue to work co-operatively with the European Commission.”

Google is also under fire for its common user privacy policy which groups 60 sets of rules into one and allows the company to track users more closely.

Last week six European data protection agencies, including the UK and France, threatened legal action if Google did not make changes to its policy.

Read the full FairSearch statement here

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