The European Commission does not rule out that Google prevents access to the market of competing mobile operating systems, applications and services that infringe upon the interests of consumers
Moscow. April 15th. INTERFAX.RU – The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation of unfair practices of the American Google’s operating system Android, the message says the EC. Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia made it 2 months before the complaint “Yandex”.
“I started formal antitrust investigation into Google’s activities in the field of mobile operating systems, applications and services. Smartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasingly important role in the daily lives of many people – and I want to make sure that markets can flourish without anti-competitive restrictions by any company, “- said the European Commissioner for Competition Policy Margrethe Vestager.
In a message, the EC notes that most manufacturers of smartphones and tablets based on Android operating system from Google conclude an agreement about how to install applications and services company. The European Commission during the investigation is going to find out, whether Google violated antitrust rules of the EU, hindering the development and market access of competing mobile operating systems, applications and services to the detriment of consumers and developers of innovative products and services.
Google itself Wednesday announced that it “strongly disagrees” with the opinion of the EC, particularly in relation to partnership agreements on Android, which “are on a voluntary basis”.
According to experts, the fact that formal charges by the EC shows substantial tightening position regulator. “This is a serious step, indicating that the European Commission is preparing to adopt a negative decision,” – said the lawyer Steptoe & amp; Johnson Paul Hughes, specializing in issues of competition in the EU.
It was reported that in 2013, following a complaint alliance Fair Search (it includes, including, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle) The European Commission took up the study of the problem ( investigation, which has not yet received the status of antitrust case) Google’s dominance in various markets. All fallen under study three main areas.
One of them – “binding” Google services and the requirement to place the company’s application on the best places on the first screen. That is, device manufacturers are required to pre-install Google search on all Android-powered devices by GMS-license (Google Mobile Services), the receipt of which is necessary for manufacturers to install devices on the app store Google Play (which is an integral part of the ecosystem Android). In addition, in accordance with the GMS, all Google applications and services should be placed in the best positions on the first screen of the device.
Another direction – “coercion” device manufacturers to release devices with only GMS, as a set of applications and services. For GMS-licensed manufacturers must sign, in particular, Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA). In accordance with the agreement of the manufacturer to produce devices that do not contain the GMS.
In the summer of last year, the European Commission sent a “Yandex” official request for mandatory information. After receiving it, at the end of 2014, the Commission drew “Yandex” as a witness in the investigation of the title.
Then in the “Yandex” told “Interfax” that the company faces difficulties when trying to negotiate with manufacturers on their preset search and applications on the devices on the platform Android, as well as distributing “Yandeks.Kita.” In 2014, because of the position Google to cooperate with “by Yandex” refused to handset manufacturers and Explay Fly.
In February this year, FAS initiated a case against Google on the complaint of “Yandex”, which is the main competitor of the US company. Russian Internet search engine Antimonopoly Service has asked Google to check for violations of antitrust laws. It was, in particular, the restriction of competition on the platform Android. To date, the first meeting of the commission of the FAS, which were presented positions of the parties and requested additional information. It is expected that the second meeting of the commission will be held in the second half of May.
“The dominance of Google’s Android operating system raises questions from antitrust authorities in different countries, – commented the press service of” Yandex “message of the European Commission. – Opening of the European Commission official case on Android – another proof “.
The European Commission is not limited to” a matter of Android “, and 15 April, Google has also sent a notice of claims in connection with violations of competition in the issuance of the search results, particularly in regard to comparison goods available on the internet.
Google faces a fine of up to $ 6.6 billion: in accordance with EU law, the Commission may impose a fine in the amount of the order of 10% of annual revenue. Google’s revenue in 2014 was $ 66 billion.
Microsoft in 2013 was fined EC 561 million euros in connection with allegations of violations of antitrust laws.