Daily Management Review

U.S. Antitrust Body - FTC, to Investigate Allegations Against Google Mobile Android Operating System


U.S. Antitrust Body - FTC, to Investigate Allegations Against Google Mobile Android Operating System
The US Federal Trade Commission is investigating about whether Google Inc is using its Android mobile operating system to stifle competition, reported the Reuters.

Action by U.S. regulators would be a big problem for the US IT giant as the Android mobile platform is a key element in Google's strategy to maintain revenue from online advertising as people switch from Web browser searches to smartphone apps.

The investigations are reportedly based on allegations that were made sometime in April this year when some technology companies had complained to the U.S. Department of Justice about Google's anti-competitive practices and urged the regulator to investigate allegations that Google unfairly uses its Android system to win online advertising.

Google had reached a settlement in 2013 with the FTC over Web search allegations.
On the other hand the European Union is investigating allegations against Google of distorting Web search results to favour its own shopping service and now the Android mobile operating system is being probed as well. 
The most recent allegations against Google is that the company is directing the Android handset makers which Google apps they must show on their phones, and how and where they are displayed and this is being probed by the FTC.

Sources said that the probe against Google is at a very early stage and the FTC and the DOJ jointly decided that FTC would take the case.

This investigation against Google is preceded by the challenge by Europe’s antitrust chief to Mountain View, California-based Google earlier this year over its dominance of Internet search.
Following complaints form a group that included Microsoft Corp., Expedia Inc. and Nokia Oyj, the European Union has also started its own investigation into Google’s Android platform. However Reuters reported that it is not clear to what extent EU and US antitrust investigators are cooperating.
59% of the US smartphone market in the second quarter was constituted by Google’s Android operating system where as 38% was dominated by Apple Inc.’s iPhone software, according to data released by International Data Corp., a Framingham, Massachusetts-based market research firm. Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform was third with 2.35%.
Several Google products, including search and maps are tied together by the Android mobile platform into a bundle which is reminiscent of the even more dominant Microsoft Windows platforms of nearly two decades ago.

Allegations were levelled against Microsoft in 1998 that the IT giant had unlawfully protected its Windows monopoly by keeping computer makers from promoting Web browsers that competed with its Internet Explorer. Microsoft had to agree to a settlement four years later.

Earlier however in 2013, the FTC led US investigation into Google’s search business had to be dropped due to lack of evidence against the IT giant. The investigations at that time also had included allegations about the Android platform.  

(Sources:www.reuters.com & www.livemint .com) 

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