A watchdog group backed by Microsoft, Nokia, and others has filed a complaint with the European Commission that accuses Google of using deceptive conduct to thwart mobile operating systems that might challenge Android.
"Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition, said in a statement. "We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google's Android operating system."
Specifically, FairSearch argues that Google requires handset makers that use the Android operating system to pre-load its suite of products, including Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Play.
"This disadvantages other providers, and puts Google's Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today," according to FairSearch.
FairSearch said this approach is "predatory" because phone manufacturers have few other options given Android's dominance.
"European consumers deserve a rigorous investigation of Google's mobile practices, and real protections against further abuses by Google," said Vinje. "Given Google's track record of ignoring the law, mobile Internet users should be very concerned."
In a statement, Google said simply that "we continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."
FairSearch, meanwhile, is made up of some of Google's top mobile rivals - including Microsoft and Nokia, which have a big stake in promoting Windows Phone.
This is not the first time FairSearch has tangled with Google. In 2010, FairSearch spearheaded a public battle against Google's acquisition of ITA, arguing that the deal would result in higher travel prices, fewer travel options, and less innovation in web-based travel search. The Justice Department approved the deal with certain conditions in April 2011. One month earlier, Microsoft announced a deal with travel service Kayak - also a FairSearch member - that integrated Kayak travel info into its Bing search results.
Later in 2011, meanwhile, FairSearch pushed for a "rigorous" investigation into Google's business practices ahead of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt's appearance on Capitol Hill. That came shortly after Google said the Federal Trade Commission was investigating its business. Ultimately, Google got a slap on the wrist from the FTC.