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Android Denounced as Antitrust ‘Trojan Horse’ to EC

Companies accuse Google of using the Android operating system as a “Trojan Horse” to lock competitors out of the mobile market

Microsoft, Google, Nokia and the 14 other members of FairSearch.org have made an antitrust complaint against Google to the European Commission, hoping the regulator will quickly open an official investigation.

The companies accuse Google of using the Android operating system, installed on 70% of the smartphones that shipped last year, as a "Trojan Horse" to lock competitors out of the mobile market, deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace and control consumer data.

They say "Google achieved its dominance in the smartphone operating system market by giving Android to device-makers for ‘free.' But in reality, Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone."

They allege that "this disadvantages other providers, and puts Google's Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today. Google's predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google's dominant mobile platform."

Thomas Vinje, the FairSearch coalition's lawyer, urged the EC "to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. 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."

Researchers say Google owns 96% of mobile search advertising.

The EC is currently studying proposed remedies to resolve a 2010 antitrust complaint that Google's desktop search is rigged to favor its own services.

Meanwhile, six data protection authorities have just begun coordinating efforts to force Google to comply with EU privacy laws they say Google violates by consolidating its privacy policies.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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