Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) must feel like it is being picked on. The European Union seems to almost make sport out of finding things wrong with Google’s business model and business practices. Could it be that the EU is just using Google as an example of the lawmakers finally “getting tough” on issues that they had essentially set up in the first place?
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has had to respond to charges about its search results, its privacy policies and how it collects user data, most recently it has been the target of an investigation into its practices to skirt around paying a “fair share” of taxes, and now the EU is looking into complaints that Google is being anti-competitive with its Android mobile operating system. Those complaints are leading EU regulators to launch an informal investigation and send out questionnaires asking stakeholders about the way Google handles the licensing of Android with various handset makers.
It seems that the focus of this early investigation will revolve around complaints that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) secures exclusivity deals with various handset makers, meaning that those companies who agree to use the Android OS on their handsets would not be allowed to place any rival OS on any other handsets. That, according to EU antitrust rules, squashes competition from other competing operating systems, as the market for handset makers for OSs get sliced when some companies sign these exclusive deals and thus are not allowed to make phones for other companies. There are also documents that reportedly describe Google as making exclusive deals for some of its properties as well, like YouTube – keeping the phones from having competing properties on the handsets.
These documents also supposedly describe Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) as selling its Android OS below coast to these manufacturers and the making special requests to those companies to either delay or cancel launches of devices that were slated to run on a competitive OS like Windows Phone by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).
Where did these complaints come from, considering some of these handset markers are working with the dominant OS in the market at about 74 percent according to numbers by Gartner?