Microsoft, Nokia demand EU action over Google's Android

BRUSSELS Tue Apr 9, 2013 9:14am EDT

The Google signage is seen at the company's headquarters in New York January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The Google signage is seen at the company's headquarters in New York January 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Companies including Microsoft and Nokia have stepped up pressure on EU antitrust regulators to take action against Google, accusing it of blocking competition in mobile telephony.

The complaint comes as Google attempts to resolve a two-year long investigation by the European Commission into its internet search practices and avert a possible fine that could hit $5 billion, or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue.

More than a dozen companies have voiced their grievances about Google's search practices to the Commission.

The investigation's initial focus was on its desktop search engine, but European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said last year he had received complaints about Google's Android, the world's most popular operating system for smartphones.

Almunia has said he aims to reach a settlement with Google in the latter half of the year. The complainants, however, are frustrated with the pace of his investigation.

In a complaint made public on Tuesday by their lobbying group FairSearch, Google's rivals accused the company of using Android to divert traffic to its search engine.

FairSearch's other members include world No. 3 software maker Oracle, online travel sites Expedia and TripAdvisor, French shopping comparison site Twenga, British price comparison site Foundem and U.S.-based adMarketplace.

"Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," FairSearch's lawyer Thomas Vinje said in a statement.

"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 said.

The Commission declined to comment.

Google spokesman Al Verney said the company continued to work cooperatively with the regulator.

Google won a major victory in the United States in January when the Federal Trade Commission ended an investigation without any significant action against the company.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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Comments (7)
ShovelyJoe wrote:
I find it interesting how companies that are too incompetent to keep up with technology (Microsoft, oracle, Apple, etc.) decide instead to try to make the other guy look like he’s cheating. Get a clue people!! So what if Google search steers people to Google products. There is no moral or legal imperative for Google to show people the competition. To suggest that Google had some ethical responsibility to do that would be like saying that Ford dealerships had to display pictures of Chevy cars. Google is in 1st place because they have what people want. You don’t. So stop whining, pull your heads out of the dark place they are in and start doing something useful!

Apr 09, 2013 1:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
1WorldDone wrote:
ShovleyJoe… Totally agree with your comments!

Would like to add:

There’s nothing like big lawsuits to stifle competition and drive up prices. We all end up paying exorbitant prices for everything while quality goes down.

How about we do a “managed care” system of payments and court access for lawyers to limit this kind of abuse…

Apr 09, 2013 2:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
IamGeek wrote:
This is a classic example how companies go cheap brainers… I am disappointed to see Oracle being part of it, Microsoft is just a kid with stuck brain… Google invests a lot of money on Android product development and they give it at free of cost for all OEMs part of OHA while Microsoft charges 30-35$ per device and includes its apps…. Google makes those apps beautiful, rich, powerful, and in one sentence “exactly how consumer wants them”. Android without those Apps, or even iOS, looks no brainer.. By the way, it is up to OEMs whether to include Google Apps or not provided with the PlayStore sign-off… Anybody can fork, rip, spoon Android and anything as they want.. Cyanogenmod is a super example with huge user base, and they do not distribute Google Apps…. Google has been putting its best efforts and making our life so easy, and not to think about much while Microsoft still behaves like spoiled kid… Go Microsoft, get facts right.. Repair your brain first and give consumers what they want before you pin-point others… You drunk, You lost me completely!!!!!!

Apr 09, 2013 3:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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