Back on September 1st, we reported that the Competition Commission of India had filed an official report accusing Google of rigging it’s search results. Sept 1. This was in addition to the ongoing investigation of the Mountain View giant by the European Union, which we we’ve documented in a number of previous articles. May 2, April 6, March 22.
The latest inquiry is sourced much closer to home, as the FTC and the Justice Department have reached an agreement to investigate Google’s Android business. Keep in mind that in early 2013, the FTC closed an almost 2 year probe into Google’s practices, deciding in the end not to bring a case against the company, saying the agency lacked evidence to bring a case.
This new probe is seemingly driven by “two people familiar with the matter”, in this case company representatives stating that Google gives priority to it’s own services in Android and restricts others. This is centered upon the Android platform ‘bundling‘ search, maps and a few other products, much like Microsoft Windows did back in 1998, when the Feds brought charges of unfair practices against the Redmond company. That investigation ended in a settlement four years later.
This bundling MAY violate antitrust laws, but only if a company is so dominant in the market with services needed by customers that rival companies have little or no chance of competing. As law professor of New York University, Harry First stated, “The question for Android is do they really have that level of market power, particularly in a world where there are other mobile-phone operating systems?“
There’s no telling where this latest investigation will lead in the end but, one thing is for sure; Google will be spending the next few years in legal battles around the world. Proving, once again, that the financial rewards of working to make a company one of the most well known on Earth is well worth it, but there will always be a regulatory, and by extension financial, price to pay.
Just ask Microsoft.
Source: Bloomberg Business
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