Google charged by EU over Android antitrust breach

Google has been formally charged by the European Union for breaking antitrust regulations by prioritising its own products and services over those of its rivals on the Android mobile operating system.

Europe’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, said today that Google had been promoting its own services such as mobile search and Google Maps, thereby breaking competition rules.

She said: “A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe. Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google’s behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of E.U. antitrust rules. Our preliminary view is that Google has abused its dominant position."

She added that, due to Google's licensing system, "tablet and smartphone manufacturers [are] not free to choose which search engines and which browsers to install on their devices. This hampers competing browser and search providers."

This is not the first time Google has been targeted over antitrust issues. It faced multiple lawsuits after being accused of abusing its dominant position in Europe last year as well as being investigated by The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US.

Google responded to the charges by saying: “We take these concerns seriously, but we also believe that our business model keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices.”

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