EU's Vestager says looking closely at Google's Android

AMSTERDAM, April 18 (Reuters) - Europe’s antitrust chief said on Monday that she was looking closely at Google’s deals with phone makers and operators, concerned that conditions related to its popular Android mobile operating system may be restricting competition.

The comments by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager come amid signs that she could charge Google with anti-competitive behaviour, a year after she accused the company of favouring its shopping service in delivering search results at the expense of rivals.

Big companies should not try to protect themselves by holding back innovation, Vestager said.

“That’s why we’re looking closely at Google’s contracts with phone makers and operators which use the Android operating system,” she said at a conference organised by the Dutch competition authority.

“Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.” (Reporting By Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)