Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are now in a face-to-face. Well, maybe not directly. Google has been under pretty consistent scrutiny by the EU Competition Commissioner in the last couple of years, facing a series of antitrust allegations and investigations involving several aspects of the tech marketplace. The latest confrontation has to do with smartphones and the Android operating system – and Nokia is being the most vocal voice in opposition to Google’s business practices.
Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is among a consortium of 17 tech companies – which includes Nokia’s smartphone partner, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) – that has been lobbying the EU hard to investigate antitrust allegations against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) which surround how it installs native apps on its Android operating system. The consortium, called FairSearch, is claiming that handset makers that want to run the Android OS are required to install a whole suite of applications from Google instead of just the ones that are most popular, like YouTube and Google Maps, for example. With Google “forcing” these handset makers to add several other apps as a package deal, FairSearch claims that blocks out opportunities for companies like Nokia and Microsoft to introduce apps that might be direct competitors and could be better for the user experience than what Google may offer.
FairSearch claims the practice is “predatory” and may be considered a monopoly.
“If you make a multi-billion-dollar investment as Google has done in the Android operating system, why would you just give it away?” said Jenni Lukander, chief corporate counsel for Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), who spoke at a recent conference. “Google gets control over the choices of other companies and, ultimately, over the choices of consumers. At least a couple of times Google has insisted on the removal of apps that compete with those of Google.” Nokia has been out in front on this crusade against Google, as Nokia has a mapping app that some consider every bit as good, if not better, than Google Maps – but the company has difficulty getting its application on Android devices because of the current practice by the Android OS creator.
What do you think? Should Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) be allowed to put forth the aps of its choice with handset makers, or should the handset maekersmakes those decisions? Why do you think Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is so involved and outspoken about this, compared to the other 16 companies in FairSearch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.