Problems increase for Google in the EU but this time Android is being targeted, with Nokia and Microsoft joining in on the attack.
Google has been vehemently targeted by European organizations over the last few years. In particular, the EU Data Protection Agency has led a group of European nations to fight again a number of Google’s business practices with CNIL leading the way, though no serious issues have truly been found with how Google is doing business in that part of the world. Now though, even some of Google’s closest business competition have also come together in attempt to put pressure on the world’s leading technology company (Google) and this time they targeted Google’s mobile bread-&-butter, Android.
An antitrust complaint has been filed in the EU by some big names, such as Microsoft, Nokia and even Oracle (which is still a bit puzzling). The filing is actually being led by Fairsearch Europe though.
Fairsearch.org promotes themselves as, “a group of businesses and organizations united to promote economic growth, innovation and choice across the Internet ecosystem by fostering and defending competition in on-line and mobile search.” The group claims that Google is “abusing its search monopoly to thwart competition” and they believe that action has to be taken now to “protect competition”.
Ironically in our most recent article, “Developing Mobile Consumables Specifically For Tablets May Be Key For Startups” we in fact just touched on how Google made the right decision to gain search superiority right from the start and as their core business. A move that has now put them in place to perhaps even gain major control over mobile search as well with their Android devices leading the way. The fact that Google is leading search is irritating for some, especially Google’s competitors. It also seems to be the crux of the issue now being raised by fairsearch.org and their supporters such as Microsoft and Nokia. It sort of goes without saying that the last two aforementioned companies would probably jump on any train to slay Google, but fairsearch.org puts forth their now most recent complaint against Google as such:
“Google’s Android is the dominant smartphone operating system, running in 70% of units shipped at the end of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Google also dominates mobile search advertising with 96% of the market, according to eMarketer. The complaint says Google uses deceptive conduct to lockout competition in mobile. “Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,”
The remainder of this will have to come in the form of an opinionated view considering that these are merely accusation and not sustained as true in a court of law as of yet, if ever they will be.
It’s is true, yes, Google has somewhat monopolized the search industry and yes, it is true as well that they are in the position to do so in the mobile industry as well. To consider such a “Trojan Horse” though (if it be considered such) is a bit much and as if to almost to say, “Hey Google wait for us! We want your business too!” Reality though tells me though that search has never been better since Google arrived and they’ve been extremely fair in their practices with consumers. In fact, it’s almost as if their entire business model is to give away products and services for free (Google Docs, Gmail, you name it) and put the burden of the cost on the businesses that want to advertise, who also in turn make the money they seek to as well.
It’s somewhat apparent these days that the European regulators are being pushed by their business sectors to try and get Google to share a bit more of the huge profits Google is making (see EU Data Protection Agency and CNIL links above). In so doing it seems as though European regulators are willing to many a tactic to convict Google of some wrong doing in an attempt to reap a portion of their revenue. Even now to the point where Google is almost being promoted as the boogie-man of the technological world now. This is not to say Google is a “perfect” company, but it sure beats the charge-us-for-everything business model that Microsoft used to pin us with.
In conclusions on this topic for a moment, I’ll end by saying that it’s clearly evident that Google is not being attacked these days for invasive practices, fraudulent business practices, gathering information illegally, etc. In fact they’re in the forefront of helping others (see Google Crisis Reponse: Jakarta Receives Life Saving Data From Google During The Nation’s Worst Flooding Since 2007), giving up information to the government to help prevent crime while at the same time fighting for user privacy (see Google Fights The American Governments Desire For NSL Secrecy) and much more. Something in the realm of reality though tells me that Google is being attacked because they’re successful. Still, the fight must go on and we’ll look to see just how much pressure the EU can really apply in order to bring about the changes they want Google to make.