The lobby group Fairsearch – which represents 17 companies, also including the likes of Expedia and Oracle – today (9 April) announced it has complained to the EC, alleging Google uses “deceptive conduct to lockout competition in mobile.”
Microsoft and Nokia hope the complaint will lead to a formal EC investigation and prompt regulatory intervention, leading to a potential opportunity to bolster the marketshare of their own offerings, which use Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.
Thomas Vinje, counsel to the FairSearch coalition, says: “Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolise the mobile marketplace and control consumer data [to further its control of the online advertising market].”
He adds: “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.”
The complaint goes on to label Google’s dominance of the Android OS as “predatory”, alleging that making the Android OS available to handset manufacturers for free has more sinister intentions.
“In reality, Android phone makers who want to include must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play are required to pre-load an entire suite of Google mobile services and to give them prominent default placement on the phone,” reads the complaint.
This in turn makes it difficult for rival providers to complete on a level playing field according to FairSearch.
The complaints come as Google faces scrutiny over its dominance of the desktop search advertising market from the EC, plus six European data protection agencies, including the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), coordinate efforts to ensure it complies with European Union privacy laws.