Google Responds to Antitrust Charges

AlphaAtlas

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Back in July, the European Commission slapped Google with a $5 billion dollar fine for forcing Android handsets makers to include Chrome if they want access to the Play Store. The commission also accused Google of suppressing AOSP and paying large manufacturers to push Google search. The European regulators promised to hit Google with even more fines if they don't comply. In a blog post, Google finally announced plans to meet the demands.

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA). Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source. Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome. We'll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours.
 
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TheOne&OnlyZeke

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Is this their fuck you to the EU
"Ya want the changes, well those fucking companies can pay for the privilege and then charge extra in the EU"

Fuck them
 

gamerk2

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not accusations, mere fact

now do it for America and the rest of the world. Consumers in America will be better off following EU's footsteps with regards to this sort of things.

Ding.

Google was using it's dominant position in one segment to force android phone makers to include Google apps to prop itself up in other segments. That's classic anti-competitive behavior.
 

GoodBoy

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But forked builds of android? No thanks... that's a giant clusterfuck just waiting to happen. Think some device manufacturers suck at getting updates out now? Just wait until there's a hundred forked versions of android out there.. And if Google has a plan to ensure those get updates, it really would cost more to do. The OS is free to use, but the govt forcing you to make forked versions of your free os? Someone will have to pay for all that extra work to develop and support it.

So, if they are doing this to Google over android, what about Apple and iOS?
 

kju1

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ROFL that is a nice fuck you to the EU. Oh you want something special? Sure we can do that...its free for everyone else but anyone that sells it to you has to pay a licensing fee. Nice.
 

cdr_74_premium

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But forked builds of android? No thanks... that's a giant clusterfuck just waiting to happen. Think some device manufacturers suck at getting updates out now? Just wait until there's a hundred forked versions of android out there.. And if Google has a plan to ensure those get updates, it really would cost more to do. The OS is free to use, but the govt forcing you to make forked versions of your free os? Someone will have to pay for all that extra work to develop and support it.

So, if they are doing this to Google over android, what about Apple and iOS?

Yes!!!!!! That means more devices able to take Custom ROMs.

I would love to rely on OEMs for updates, but the community does a hell of a better job.
 

BloodyIron

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To be fair, developing Android probably does cost them a lot of money. It has way more permutations of hardware to deal with than Windows does.
 

Lakados

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When is the fine to Apple?
Apple does not have a dominant position in the smart phone market. They do not have a dominant search engine either. They don’t datamine your data for targeted adds, and they don’t force manufacturers into contracts forcing them to include specific bundled software to retain access to the App Store. I love to hate on Apple as much as the next person (they are an easy target) but all things asside you can’t really accuse Apple of being anti-competitive given they actively try to price themselves out of the competition.
 
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This doesn't mean better and more third party support for devices.

What keeps devices so closed off is not google. It's qualcomm and other hardware companies that refuse to release the source to hardware and graphics drivers to support them. They build against ancient obsolete kernels and then never release an update to the driver.

So dont hold your breath on this being some kind of renaissance of open source android. Open source android has been dead since the nexus line was dropped and will continue to be essentially dead until we have open source hardware drivers for devices instead of closed source hardware blobs that are stuck on specific kernel and specific builds of all of the supporting libraries that goes along with android.


I'm all for google giving the EU the middle finger. 3rd party apps and services were never not allowed you just had to include their stuff if you wanted the play store and the name "android". This is not the same as prohibiting competition, it's prohibiting companies from being parasitic and feeding off the labors of google without contributing anything back to them. So good on google.

However, i don't kid myself into thinking that google is doing this out of some ethically superior stand. Google doesn't care about good or evil anymore. Just money like all the other big corps. Otherwise we wouldn't be hearing anything about them touching China with a 10 ft pole in regards to a pro-censorship search engine. But if i have to choose an evil corporate overload, and you do, I'd rather it be google at this time than microsoft, apple, amazon or some other business.
 

toast0

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ROFL that is a nice fuck you to the EU. Oh you want something special? Sure we can do that...its free for everyone else but anyone that sells it to you has to pay a licensing fee. Nice.

I'm pretty sure this is three parts, part one is allowing manufacturers to make both googley android phones and non-googley android phones (previously, you needed to pick), part two is requiring payment for a bundle of play services and some other crap, part three is google paying to get chrome and search preinstalled. There's only speculation so far, but the speculation is that somehow the price google pays for chrome and search preinstalls is going to magically add up to the cost to get play services. I don't think manufacturers will be allowed to only install play store and not gmail, youtube, google maps and whatever else lives in the bundle; I also don't think they'll be allowed to do the chrome and search preinstalls unless they do the play and apps bundle. And of course, all of this only applies to phones destined for the EU; anywhere else and it's if you want play store, you get chrome and google search.
 

Jagger100

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To be fair, developing Android probably does cost them a lot of money. It has way more permutations of hardware to deal with than Windows does.

They pulled heavily form their open source initiative then tightened their grip. You only get the playstore or have to change settings with scary messages designed to prevent an alternate from ever being popular, if you get the playstore.
 

Ididar

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Apple does not have a dominant position in the smart phone market. They do not have a dominant search engine either. They don’t datamine your data for targeted adds, and they don’t force manufacturers into contracts forcing them to include specific bundled software to retain access to the App Store. I love to hate on Apple as much as the next person (they are an easy target) but all things asside you can’t really accuse Apple of being anti-competitive given they actively try to price themselves out of the competition.

To be fair, they can't force manufacturers into contracts like you say because they're the only manufacturer. They are even more restrictive than Google about what gets on their devices. If they ever became dominant they'd be fined far more than Google and the restructuring for them would be far more damaging. Google has a small fence you have to leap over. Apple has a 20 foot high wall with razor wire.
 
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They pulled heavily form their open source initiative then tightened their grip. You only get the playstore or have to change settings with scary messages designed to prevent an alternate from ever being popular, if you get the playstore.


You only get scary messages because you're using android coded to and signed by google to trust that store. Any third party that is rolling their own alternative, would have the signed keys included in the OS so that their store is just as trusted. Adding a store by a real third party (not associated with the device maker) should be scary, because the risk is great and users are stupid.

For instance, samsung has long had their own store along with the play store. You dont get scary warnings about installing things from samsung's store.

This is not about competition being prevented from becoming popular. This is about companies not wanting to give up any income by pushing users into environments they completely control so they can monopolize them themselves. The alternative that these companies would have us live in is not one in which there is choice. It's one in which they are the only company taking advantage of their users. So you're asking to trade one unfair situation, for another unfair situation. The difference being, the users suffer because the alternatives simply aren't better qualitatively in any way imaginable.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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This is just going to fragment the shit out of the platform.

Google really should switch to a Windows-style controlled binary distribution model and not let handset makers make any changes to the code at all.

Just like with Windows, they should push updates straight to users without any handset maker involvement. OEM's should provide the hardware and drivers and if they absolutely have to, some preinstalled apps, but that's it.
 
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Lakados

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To be fair, they can't force manufacturers into contracts like you say because they're the only manufacturer. They are even more restrictive than Google about what gets on their devices. If they ever became dominant they'd be fined far more than Google and the restructuring for them would be far more damaging. Google has a small fence you have to leap over. Apple has a 20 foot high wall with razor wire.
Exactly, but Apple’s EU share is less than 25% and Android is greater than 75%, so at no level can Apple be considered a dominant force, except financially.
 

cdr_74_premium

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This is just going to fragment the ahit out of the platform.

Google really should switch to a Windows-style controlled binary distribution model and not let handset makers make any changes to the code at all.

Just like with Windows, they should push updates straight to users without any handset maker involvement. OEM's should provide the hardware and drivers and if they absolutely have to, some preinstalled apps, but that's it.

I think it's time for some true Open Source hardware initiative. That way I get the hardware and load whatever I want into it.

At the end of the day, Google's "platform" is Linux running on ARM.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I think it's time for some true Open Source hardware initiative. That way I get the hardware and load whatever I want into it.

I would like that.

Honestly, if I were shopping today, I'd probably look at an international unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 and install the official build of LineageOS on it, to get rid of all the Samsung junk in the software.

Lets face it, Samsung makes some pretty great hardware (at least when it isn't catching on fire) but their software leaves a lot to be desired. The way they modify the AOSP code base makes it bloated and results in feature and security updates taking way too much time, as they have to first wait for the upstream updates before they even start working on their own modifications to it.

I would love to have a phone OS that operates like a Linux distribution, or at least like Windows, where the OS is independent of the phone hardware, and updates are pushed straight from the distribution/OS vendor, without any involvement at all from the handset maker.
 

DPI

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Exactly, but Apple’s EU share is less than 25% and Android is greater than 75%, so at no level can Apple be considered a dominant force, except financially.
The hell Apple can't. If they make the most profits on phones then their feet should be held to the fire too. It's not solely about marketshare.

Apple: "Hey don't look at us we don't even sell that many phones -- look over there at Android!"
 

Lakados

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The hell Apple can't. If they make the most profits on phones then their feet should be held to the fire too. It's not solely about marketshare.

Apple: "Hey don't look at us we don't even sell that many phones -- look over there at Android!"
Lets break down the specific claims against google for you and compare them to Apples approach.

Google has been bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system. - Apple's Safari is removable and they do not own a search engine to integrate
Google has also blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android - Apple does not allow any others access to their store under any circumstances, they are also the sole providers of the iOS devices.
Google “made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators” to exclusively bundle the Google search app on handsets. - Apple lets you freely change your preferred search engine in the settings and currently defaults to Google their active competitor.

People like to think that Android is still an opensource software, but google has been chipping away at that slowly adding more and more proprietary components to its Play Services and forcing that software and its agreements on manufacturers. Additionally Google does not force those agreements on phone manufacturers in for phone sales in China, where they still license the software with out the proprietary components and still allow access to the Play Services. The fact they can do it in China but can't or are unwilling to do it else ware was a pretty damning piece for the EU's decision making in this case.
 

cdr_74_premium

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I would like that.

Honestly, if I were shopping today, I'd probably look at an international unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 and install the official build of LineageOS on it, to get rid of all the Samsung junk in the software.

Lets face it, Samsung makes some pretty great hardware (at least when it isn't catching on fire) but their software leaves a lot to be desired. The way they modify the AOSP code base makes it bloated and results in feature and security updates taking way too much time, as they have to first wait for the upstream updates before they even start working on their own modifications to it.

I would love to have a phone OS that operates like a Linux distribution, or at least like Windows, where the OS is independent of the phone hardware, and updates are pushed straight from the distribution/OS vendor, without any involvement at all from the handset maker.

Unfortunately not only the computer industry is chasing the "ecosystem" dream - and it is a wet dream, because whoever joins it, get trapped (see: the cloud) - even old players like Windows wants to dominate and carve their playground (UEFI, MS Store etc).
 

cdr_74_premium

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People like to think that Android is still an opensource software, but google has been chipping away at that slowly adding more and more proprietary components to its Play Services and forcing that software and its agreements on manufacturers. Additionally Google does not force those agreements on phone manufacturers in for phone sales in China, where they still license the software with out the proprietary components and still allow access to the Play Services. The fact they can do it in China but can't or are unwilling to do it else ware was a pretty damning piece for the EU's decision making in this case.

They can do it in China because China doesn't bend over to them like everybody else. Well, them and the EU, maybe?

I love it. Considering how europeans are active on OSS development, that means lots of new stuff popping out. Hopefully I'll be able to get a standalone phone and load whatever I want sooner rather than later. Until then, I hoard Nexus 4 phones....
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Unfortunately not only the computer industry is chasing the "ecosystem" dream - and it is a wet dream, because whoever joins it, get trapped (see: the cloud) - even old players like Windows wants to dominate and carve their playground (UEFI, MS Store etc).

I know. I hate it. I don't want an ecosystem, just a competent OS, yet Windows 10 forces all this shit I don't want on me.

Thus far I have refused to create any Microsoft accounts. I run my windows installs 100% using local accounts, and I refuse to use any of the integrated services or the Microsoft store. It really sucks though, even doing this, some aspects of the OS (like parental controls, for instance) can only be configured using a Microsoft account on the Microsoft web-page. That, and it pisses me off every time I see the goddamned Xbox app on my computer, and I can't remove it.

I run Linux Mint as my primary desktop, only booting up Windows if I want to run a game. If it gets any worse, I'm just going to get rid of Windows all together.
 

Jagger100

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You only get scary messages because you're using android coded to and signed by google to trust that store. Any third party that is rolling their own alternative, would have the signed keys included in the OS so that their store is just as trusted. Adding a store by a real third party (not associated with the device maker) should be scary, because the risk is great and users are stupid.

For instance, samsung has long had their own store along with the play store. You dont get scary warnings about installing things from samsung's store.

This is not about competition being prevented from becoming popular. This is about companies not wanting to give up any income by pushing users into environments they completely control so they can monopolize them themselves. The alternative that these companies would have us live in is not one in which there is choice. It's one in which they are the only company taking advantage of their users. So you're asking to trade one unfair situation, for another unfair situation. The difference being, the users suffer because the alternatives simply aren't better qualitatively in any way imaginable.

Please show me one phone sold with an alternate appstore that also has the playstore? Bought a Amazon version of a Motorola from Amazon. No Amazon Appstore came with it. I can turn on Alexa, have every Amazon app other than the appstore as default included. Amazon has tried endlessly to be able to be installed over the years. I'm curious where in the US can I get a phone with both the Playstore and an alternate store?
 

cdr_74_premium

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I know. I hate it. I don't want an ecosystem, just a competent OS, yet Windows 10 forces all this shit I don't want on me.

Thus far I have refused to create any Microsoft accounts. I run my windows installs 100% using local accounts, and I refuse to use any of the integrated services or the Microsoft store. It really sucks though, even doing this, some aspects of the OS (like parental controls, for instance) can only be configured using a Microsoft account on the Microsoft web-page. That, and it pisses me off every time I see the goddamned Xbox app on my computer, and I can't remove it.

I run Linux Mint as my primary desktop, only booting up Windows if I want to run a game. If it gets any worse, I'm just going to get rid of Windows all together.

There are a few tools to clean WIn10 up, but it's a matter of time. They're boiling the water, and we're frogs, so I am already settled on Linux for good as muich as I can.
 
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