Google rejects EU allegations concerning unfair market dominance

Google rejects EU allegations concerning unfair market dominance

Google’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker rejected EU allegations [blog] on Thursday that it abused its market dominance of its Android mobile phone operating system. Terming EU’s concerns over how the company manages Android compatibility and distribute its own apps as baseless, Walker stated that “Android hasn’t hurt competition, it’s expanded it.” Walker stated that the European Commission’s finding is based on the false premise that Android does not compete with Apple’s iOS: “We don’t see it that way. We don’t think Apple does either.” Among other things, Google has been accused of undue preference to its own apps, especially its search engine, in agreements with cellphone makers. To this, Kent responded:

No manufacturer is obliged to preload any Google apps on an Android phone. But we do offer manufacturers a suite of apps so that when you buy a new phone you can access a familiar set of basic services. Android’s competitors, including Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Windows phone, not only do the same, but they allow much less choice in the apps that come with their phones.

The Commission sent a statement of objections to Google in April alleging that it has been engaging in anti-competitive practices contrary to EU law. If the Commission rules against the company, Google will be required to change its practices [BBC report] in addition to paying a fine. Kent said that his company hopes for a continuing dialogue with the Commission.

Google has faced numerous legal suits both in the US and internationally. In August the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) [official website], South Korea’s antitrust regulator, confirmed [JURIST report] that the country is investigating whether Google violated the country’s antitrust laws. It was in April that Margrethe Vestagar [official profile], the Commissioner of Competition for the EU, opened the probe [JURIST report] into this specific matter Kent Walker is currently responding to. In August 2015 the EU filed an antitrust claim [JURIST report] against Google claiming that the company structures its search results to favor its own services over those of rivals. In June 2015 privacy software company Disconnect [corporate website] filed antitrust charges [JURIST report] against Google with the European Commissioner. In January 2015 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]. The same month 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.