EU launches antitrust probe into Google relationship with Android developers

EU launches antitrust probe into Google relationship with Android developers

Margrethe Vestagar [official profile], the Commissioner of Competition for the EU, on Wednesday opened a probe [press release] into the international business practices of Google concerning the tech giant’s relationship with other Android developers. Vestagar stated [speech] that Google’s practice of requiring mobile phone producers to pre-load Google applications on new devices could hinder innovation and might violate international antitrust [JURIST backgrounder] law. Google has allegedly violated antitrust law by mandating that phone developers choose entirely-Google products over other competing options if the developer desires to use one of Google’s apps.

Google has faced numerous legal suits both in the US and internationally. In 2015 the EU filed an antitrust claim [JURIST report] against Google claiming that Google structures its search results to favor its own services over those of rivals. Earlier that year, privacy software company Disconnect [corporate website] filed antitrust charges [JURIST report] against Google with the European Commissioner. That January a representative for Google signed an agreement [JURIST report] to rewrite the company’s current privacy policy in response to pressure from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office [official website]. Also in January of last year Google was among four tech companies that reached a $415 million settlement [JURIST report] in a class action lawsuit claiming the companies unlawfully agreed to reduce employee compensation and mobility. A Hong Kong court ruled [JURIST report] in August 2014 that Chinese businessman Dr. Albert Yeung Sau Shing may continue his defamation suit against Google over the autocomplete function of the company’s search engine, which suggests links connecting Yeung to organized crime groups in China. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in May 2014 that programming interfaces in Oracle’s Java technology can be protected under US copyright law, allowing Oracle to pursue its legal case against Google.