European Commission Initiates Antitrust Probe Against Google

The long arms of the law? The European Commission is once again breathing on Google’s tail, and this time the antitrust body is investigating the company’s Android contracts.

Yeah, the ones it has with phone makers.

Unnamed industry sources are quoted in this report, which claims that the inquiry that was being suggested a few weeks back is now set to take place. Letters have been sent, the pieces are moving, and commissioners now want to find out whether there is anything in these contracts that is restrictive.

Microsoft, of course, has a history with these folks, and was fined some $731 million for something to do with the Internet Explorer browser.

Anyway, now it appears that Google, with its market share of up to 80% in Europe is into the focus, with the debate being the company’s Mobile Application Distribution Agreement, also known as MADA.

Nothing new — has been mentioned countless times now.

But the point of contention is that Google forces manufactures to make phones that do not come preinstalled with alternative app stores, map services, even music players.

Google does not even allow end users the ability to install alternate app stores on their devices, without directly downloading their APK files. These restrictions, and more, are now being investigated. Reportedly, that is.

It usually takes the European Commission quite some time before they publicly confirm the investigations. But the antitrust team is particularly interested in the lockout clause of the agreement.

And this could potentially be a long drawn, yet very fascinating, battle.

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