The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is investigating Google Inc. over antitrust allegations (again). The move comes in response to several complaints filed by other tech companies, alleging that the company is using its Android operating system to unfairly harm competitors. Android leads the U.S. mobile phone market with a 51.6 percent market share, followed by Apple with a 44.1 percent share.
The stakes are extremely high, because Google’s behavior impacts the entire mobile ecosystem, including map and location services, and app developers,
read a statement released by Fairsearch, a tech industry trade group.
The Commission’s probe will focus on conditions Google places on the companies that manufacture Android-based phones. Google requires smartphone makers to place its maps, search, and other services in a prominent location on mobile phones. Rivals argue that these requirements make it impractical for the makers of Android phones to place the products of Google’s rivals on their phone’s home screen.
The Commission has previously investigated Google for alleged anticompetitive practices, and reached a settlement with the company in 2013 requiring it to cease its practice of “scraping” content from its rivals for use in its own products. It was revealed in documents leaked this year that F.T.C. investigators had recommended taking legal action against Google for several other violations of antitrust law, but in an unusual move, the Commission declined to do so.
Read more here – “Google Faces Renewed U.S. Antitrust Scrutiny, This Time Over Android,” (Diane Bartz, Reuters).