The Federal Trade Commision(FTC) has begun a preliminary investigation into Google using Android to push its own apps like Search and Maps.
The search giant has been under investigation in Europe for antitrust violations for a while and the FTC has voted several times in the past not to pursue charges against Google. But there’s now an investigation brewing within the country’s antitrust watchdog.
Complaintants actually went to the Department of Justice(DoJ) first and the DoJ recently asked the FTC for clearance to begin their investigation by making contact with complaintants.
The DoJ and FTC have since worked out an agreement for the FTC, instead of the DoJ, to investigate the claims. The issue stem from the “home screen dominance” of Google’s Android App placement and Android app bundle requirements. The complaint is still in the fact finding stage, the FTC has still yet to contact Google, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that charges will move forward.
Google distributes Android for free to companies like Samsung and LG but if they want to have any Google Apps installed on their phones or tablets, they must take a bundle of a certain set of Android apps which includes money makers like Google Search and the Google Play store. Complaintants are unhappy with this because it gives Google a distinct advantage on the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
[graphiq id=”amUuGd8U0Lz” title=”Smartphone OS Market Share by Quarter” width=”700″ height=”540″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/amUuGd8U0Lz” link=”http://smartphones.specout.com” link_text=”Smartphone OS Market Share by Quarter | SpecOut”]
Google has offered no public comment comment regarding this matter and Justin Cole, an FTC spokesperson, was quoted as saying, “investigations are nonpublic, and we do not comment on an investigation or the existence of an investigation.”
Google has faced the harsh hand of the government before, but escaped charges. In 2013, Microsoft and Yelp brought complaints to the FTC that Google unfairly gave an advantage to its own products, but Google escaped scrutiny after the FTC voted unanimously not to bring charges.
Source: Bloomberg, via The New York Times