Federal Trade Commission investigates Google and Android

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By Larry Banks

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Android in relation to claims that Google is exploiting its open platform to shut out rivals.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC has met various companies to “example industry concerns that Alphabet Inc.’s Google abuses the dominance of its Android smartphone software”, as an extension of an investigation it started last year.

Google is already being scrutinised in Europe where the European Commission instigated new antitrust charges against the search company, saying Google is hindering competition by locking in Android apps or versions of Android.

In the US, FTC staff are reported to have requested new data from two other companies, indicating the investigation is still ongoing. Unlike the EU however, the FTC has not yet filed charges against Google.

The WSJ noted the FTC may reach a different conclusion than the EU, since European laws on competition “give antitrust enforcers more power to take action against dominant companies”,

Android also has more sway in Europe where it’s credited with 70 percent market share in the largest EU countries. In the US however, Android’s market share is around 60 percent.

The Journal also said that US laws would enable Google to excuse itself if it could provide “legitimate business justifications”.

In 2013, the FTC avoided imposing any action when looking at Google’s position in Internet search, even though it found that Google’s search results favoured the firm’s own products and services.

In that instance, the company was allowed to volunteer to make small changes to avoid prosecution.

SOURCE: AppleInsider.com.

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