Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Lobby group calls Android a "Trojan Horse" for Google's dominance

Lobby group calls Android a "Trojan Horse" for Google's dominance

Tue 09 Apr 2013 2:49pm GMT / 10:49am EDT / 7:49am PDT
MobileHardware

FairSearch lodges complaint with EU Commission on behalf of Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, others

A lobby group representing Microsoft and Nokia among others has filed a complaint with the European Commission describing Android as an anti-competitive "Trojan horse" strategy.

FairSearch has claimed that Android's below cost distribution strategy is a means for Google to achieve total domination of the mobile space, and makes it difficult for other OS manufacturers to recoup expenses. It also accuses Google of deceptive practices to obscure these facts.

"Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolise the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," said Thomas Vinje, counsel to the FairSearch coalition.

"We are asking the Commission 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."

A point of contention is the way that device manufacturers are required to give default placement to an entire suite of Google apps and services to get access to mainstays like Google Maps and YouTube. The complaint states that this gives Google control of data on the majority of mobile phones shipped and sold in the world today.

FairSearch is composed of 17 technology companies, including Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle. Google is also the focus of a legal investigation by six European data protection authorities over the consolidation of its privacy policies.

15 Comments

Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

459 738 1.6
Popular Comment
Wait a minute.

MICROSOFT just filed an antitrust complaint!?

Posted:A year ago

#1

Craig Page Programmer

386 220 0.6
No offence to any lobbyists on here, but... Lobbyists are the scum of the earth, worse than animal poachers or even nazis.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Well why dont microsoft offer there products at below cost and cheap. What sells Android is how open and flexible it is to use. You can develope for it or even modify the operating system. Its a standard OS thats open for any hardware to use. Unlike iOS. And as a mobile harware developer, who wants to have to create another OS from scratch that has to have Apps developed specifically for it? I mean look at the OUYA, a game console that uses Android. I love the flexibility of Android. I can buy Apps from Google or other places or create my own, none of the licensing mumbo jumbo as with Apple. I can download apps from other places, install them... its all cool.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

273 624 2.3
Oh, the irony is so ironic it has just had a fucking heart attack!!

Posted:A year ago

#4

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

363 208 0.6
there is absolutely no doubt that Google is doing exactly that! And Microsoft would be right to complain as they were accused for doing that, just because they had media player and internet explorer embedded on windows. The result was huge fines, litigations, and public outcry through media. For something that Apple with Safari, and even Google on their chrome OS today and the covert registration of a user to all Google's services through android device registration do!

Look at Google's chrome OS and the laptops they introduced and tell me which part of that is open, or if that move doesn't support a monopoly ecosystem or look at apple and ios and then look at Windows and decide honestly which is more Open!

Rick, i think you are missing the point. Google by pretending to be open, is enclosing everyone under their technologies, it matters not what you can do with android or how many applications of android you can envision. what these companies say, is that Google through unfair, misleading and non transparent towards the consumer practices, is creating a technological monopoly. Something that Microsoft was accused and condemned and paid heavily for, even though it wasn't the case!

Posted:A year ago

#5

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
Oh Microsoft, how hilarious. You mean you take issue with Google doing the exact thing that built your (now failing) empire in the first place?

@ Yiannis There is no pretending. Android is the most open OS ever released on mass market devices. Chrome OS never, ever, claimed to be open. It's not even really an OS. It's Chrome on a laptop. Google sells multiple products to multiple people for many purposes. Google is creating a technology monopoly by being consumer focused rather than corporate focused. It's amazing how well that works.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 10th April 2013 12:44am

Posted:A year ago

#6

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Is it just me that's annoyed by GI.biz not including links to sources, such as the press release announcing this, or the complaint itself?
Android is the most open OS ever released on mass market devices.
Indeed. And I don't see how the complaint about distributing it at "below cost" can stand up, unless they want to start in with the same complaint about Red Hat. (Well, actually the situation with Android is more complex than that of the Linux kernel and distributions, but that's too big to get in to here.)

The real complaint seems to be, quoting from the press release (though the story also mentioned this):
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, the complaint says
I think that's the real problem: if you don't want to give prominent placement to a whole pile of Google apps, you can't have any of the apps at all on your device. (This is why this isn't an issue for devices like the Ouya, where they have no need or desire for those apps anyway.) That's pretty similar to the MS Windows browser issues of the late 90s.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

363 208 0.6
Nicholas, Microsoft is far from failling, they are merely recallibrating. Especially businesses are begging to see microsoft make a stance and become relevant on mobile, people prefer windows as their desktop OS of choice more than anything. Windows 8 is the best OS that came out from Microsoft yet and a huge step towards that direction!

www.wired.com/business/2010/10/is-android-open/

And i am asking you, since you recognize that Google does something you criticize ms about, why do you applaud what they do if that is so bad? And that proves Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle et al point!

Curt, the fact alone, that you (and many many more people, like Nick for instance) confuse the openness of red hat and ubuntu with that of google's android is the reason why Google is getting away with it and even praised.

One main difference, they don't deceive anyone in order to build a user base and trap them into their ecosystem. An ecosystem which is consistently against the very philosophy that drives true open software. fairness, privacy, individualism, etc. etc. Google is a merciless data miner, which has gone to great extends to make the acquisition and marketization of private information about every part of digital life and beyond, the purpose of their existence. Indeed, they are far worse than facebook, and they are far more greedy too!

In fact i am looking forward to seeing Google's reaction after facebook with such a simple move kind of takes over android! You would have phones runing android being branded as facebook phones. After that, a special facebook distribution of the open OS is all it would take.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Yiannis Koumoutzelis on 10th April 2013 5:36am

Posted:A year ago

#8

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
lol the pot calling the kettle black :D

Posted:A year ago

#9

Andrew Watson Programmer

103 260 2.5
I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords.

Posted:A year ago

#10
Yes, it must be time to ban Linux and make Open Source illegal ... right? How dare a company give something away for free!!

Posted:A year ago

#11

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Yannis That's not what's happening here. Google does collect a lot of data, all of which is invisible to everyone including them and never sold to outside advertisers. The data auto pairs with ads, and they don't hide what they collect at all. Indeed you can see exactly what information is gathered from anything on Android or any of Google services. iOS does not grant the same transparency, and Facebook actually sells your info to advertisers instead of privately pairing ads.

Android is not completely open, it's just far more open than anything else. Bundling services is in no way illegal and companies are free to use android without google apps as Amazon and Ouya do.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 11th April 2013 12:27am

Posted:A year ago

#12

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,195 1,169 0.5
Hmmm. In addition, it seems that people aren't using *Bing!* as much as they do Google and Microsoft wants to get a bigger slice of that search revenue pot pie. Eh, we'll see how this pans out...

Posted:A year ago

#13

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,200 1,017 0.8
Silly thing is these companies could compete (or at least try to).

No need to use the law to stop Google for providing something 'amazing' for free. Once upon a time it was like "can't beat em join em", then it was "buy em" now its cry and sue. Microsoft in particular could have been where Google is now in the mobile space. We all know the story of Nokia as another example...

Posted:A year ago

#14

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Curt, the fact alone, that you (and many many more people, like Nick for instance) confuse the openness of red hat and ubuntu with that of google's android is the reason why Google is getting away with it and even praised.

One main difference, they don't deceive anyone in order to build a user base and trap them into their ecosystem....
I don't think I'm confusing these. My key point is that it's not the OS that's the issue here: it's Google's apps. That's why the "giving away the OS for free" argument doesn't stand up, and isn't even relevant. Focusing on that can only hurt the people and companies that use and distribute open-source software.

The apps clearly are not free, since Google doesn't let vendors put them on their phones without providing something in return. If these apps are pretty much required in order to be successful in the market, then there's a case to be made there that Google could be abusing their market power, just as MS did back in the days of IE vs. Netscape.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now