Google Vows to Appeal $5 Billion Fine from EU Over Bundled Android Services

cageymaru

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Google has been fined $5 billion by the European Union (EU) for anti-competitive practices. First Google required Android phone manufacturers to bundle Google search and other Google web services with every device as the default in exchange for access to the Google Play store. Secondly, Google paid phone manufacturers to make sure that only the Google Search app was preinstalled on such devices. Lastly, Google has obstructed the development of competing mobile operating systems that could have provided a platform for rival search engines to gain traffic. Google has 90 days to amend the contracts with phone manufacturers that require Google services to be set as the default on devices sold to consumers or face additional daily fines.

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in an emailed statement. "These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits."
"Android has created more choice for everyone, not less," Google spokesman Al Verney said in an emailed statement. "A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition."
 

cageymaru

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The EU basically did the same thing to MSFT when they enforced IE as the default and installed browser. Unfortunately for Google, looks like they will suffer the same fate. EU = the suck.
I was watching additional coverage and the spokesperson for the EU gave the example of Amazon wanting to use their FireOS on a series of phones. Phone manufacturers wanted to do it, but Google refused to allow the Google Play store onto the devices because of the contracts in the article.
 
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Consumer protection is bullshit, we all need to be sacrificed to the machine for the greater glory of the machine.

People can't name a single occasion where a lack of consumer protection ever harmed consumers except the times that it did, but those don't count.

EMBRACE THE OLIGARCHY!

Democracy was a mistake. Rules should only apply to poor people.
 

Kardonxt

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This would be more reasonable if there was a solid alternative. I wouldn't want any other provider as my default search engine, let alone controlling other aspects of my phone. Yahoo powered phones are the last thing anyone needs lol. Even Apple knows Google is the best choice.
 

katanaD

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this is , to me, a who cares kind of thing. oh no.. on my Android phone, google is the default search app..big deal. people will go out of their way to install apps they want.. most people simply couldnt give 2 shits what app they use to do a web search, as long as it works well enough for them.

plus, many end users with their poor habits are probably using some alternate search site anyways, that they have no idea about, since they just visited some site and kept clicking yes.. to continue, and are now using a "search" engine that is spam related
 

NeghVar

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I was watching additional coverage and the spokesperson for the EU gave the example of Amazon wanting to use their FireOS on a series of phones. Phone manufacturers wanted to do it, but Google refused to allow the Google Play store onto the devices because of the contracts in the article.
There are other app stores. Amazon is the largest of them. Yes, Google Play has the largest collection of apps available. But is there something preventing the developers from making their apps available on these other stores? Amazon restrictions? Developers choosing not to? If the developers are choosing Google Play only, then the fault lies with the developers, not Google.
 

sc5mu93

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But apple can FORCE me to install safari and a bunch of apps on their eco system?
I think there is a distinction.
Apple is vertically integrated. They provides the software and hardware to the end user.
Google provides the OS to 3rd parties (handset manufacturers) and compels them to install Google apps as defaults.

That said, I don't agree with the EU ruling. I don't think this is the same as MSFT in the 90s.
 

dexvx

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That said, I don't agree with the EU ruling. I don't think this is the same as MSFT in the 90s.
I agree, because Google wields much more influence than MSFT ever did in the 90s.

There are other app stores. Amazon is the largest of them. Yes, Google Play has the largest collection of apps available. But is there something preventing the developers from making their apps available on these other stores? Amazon restrictions? Developers choosing not to? If the developers are choosing Google Play only, then the fault lies with the developers, not Google.
So you don't think its monopolistic to tell your suppliers that if they use competing services (e.g. FireOS or any third party stores), that you will cut them off?

Very few companies (like Amazon or the China ecosystem) have the SW engineering to develop Android completely devoid of Google services. So if Google cuts you off, you're fvcked.
 

andrewaggb

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Definitely have mixed feelings on it. Mostly I think it's too little too late. The thing that makes this better than Microsoft in the 90's is that this time Apple is actually competing and has significant market share and application support. There's 2 viable options. Windows had no competition and so we've suffered through windows me, vista, 8 etc and just had to deal with it.
 

oROEchimaru

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i am fine with googles apps but here is the best solution:
a. make apps uninstallable, but if its a core app make it easy to select alternatives (Browser, messaging etc)
b. #1: stop with the carrier revenue bullshit apps. this is why i hate android the most. we have to go "stock" pixel or moto phones as a result. my pixel xl died twice in 20 months, now im stuck with a moto g 4x... which broke in 2 weeks (just from web surfing) and was replaced. So 4 phones in 20 months is a PITA. however its better than my samsung s5 and note phones that had 30+ apps from samsung and ATT . F THAT
 

BSmith

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Hehe,...good. Google's control over the WEB needs to be reduced. It is ridiculous how much control they have.
 

NeghVar

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I don't think this is the same as MSFT in the 90s.
Nor do I. Back then, IE was included with Windows at no charge while Nestscape Navigator had to be bought. I believe that was the key factor in that case
 

Lakados

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I think there is a distinction.
Apple is vertically integrated. They provides the software and hardware to the end user.
Google provides the OS to 3rd parties (handset manufacturers) and compels them to install Google apps as defaults.

That said, I don't agree with the EU ruling. I don't think this is the same as MSFT in the 90s.
Google holds significantly more power than Microsoft did in the 90’s. The bigger distinction between Apple and Google in this ruling is apple doesn’t integrate a search engine into their OS you can freely choose it furthermore they don’t monetize user data which is the majority of googles income.
 

gamerk2

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I mean this is just out of hand. As long as the user can change the services they choose to use, what's the problem?
The problem in this case is this: Take an Amazon Fire: If they don't pre-install Googles suite of items, they don't have access to the Google App Store. This in turn leads to having less software available, which in turn makes the phone less attractive to purchase. In short, Google is saying "Use all my services, or none at all", which is the textbook definition of anti-competitive practices.

There are other app stores. Amazon is the largest of them. Yes, Google Play has the largest collection of apps available. But is there something preventing the developers from making their apps available on these other stores? Amazon restrictions? Developers choosing not to? If the developers are choosing Google Play only, then the fault lies with the developers, not Google.
In theory, every app ever created could be ported to every possible ecosystem. This doesn't happen because of ROI; if there isn't enough of a market to port an app to a different platform, then it won't get ported.

So in this case, Google blocks Amazon from the Google App Store because Amazon won't use all of Goggles services. As a result, Amazon has less access to apps. This causes a spiral where lack of apps leads to lack of adoption to the platform, leading to fewer apps being created, until the platform dies. Windows Phone is a good example of this occurring.



Fact is, "Use Service X to get access to Service Y" is textbook anti-competitive practice, and exactly what Google is doing here. The EU is totally justified in this fine.
 

dexvx

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i am fine with googles apps but here is the best solution:
a. make apps uninstallable, but if its a core app make it easy to select alternatives (Browser, messaging etc)
Google services has no alternatives. Many of the Google ecosystem apps relies on Google services. Hell, some third party apps also rely on Google services.

Here in China, where Google everything is blocked, a ton of random shit that I never thought twice about doesn't work... because they use Google services. Now imagine if you're a non-Chinese phone OEM, you would be scared sh1tless if Google threatened to cut you off.

The best analogy today would be MSFT win32api/DX. Imagine if MSFT said, hey everyone has to strictly follow win32api with DX. MSFT would then ban Vulkan/OGL from Windows. You make a game in Vulkan? Well fvck you, you don't get Direct3D anymore! Effectively blocking the dev from selling their games on Windows PC's *and* some consoles.

This in turn, would kill Steam OS, gaming on Macs, etc.
 

NeghVar

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I agree, because Google wields much more influence than MSFT ever did in the 90s.



So you don't think its monopolistic to tell your suppliers that if they use competing services (e.g. FireOS or any third party stores), that you will cut them off?

Very few companies (like Amazon or the China ecosystem) have the SW engineering to develop Android completely devoid of Google services. So if Google cuts you off, you're fvcked.
Was this a cut off from just Google Play on that device, or ALL Google services on that device? As long as there are easily accessible alternatives, I have no problem. As a consumer, it is your choice and your responsibility to weigh in on the pros and cons of going with Android or an alternative such as FireOS. To me, for it to be monopolistic I believe that there should be no alternative that is easily accessible by most people, or if there is, it is extremely limited in matching features. (excluding colluding companies)
 

pcgeekesq

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Google doesn't care, really. Of course they'll appeal: throw a few million at lawyers, maybe you can get the fine reduced a billion or so.

This is the usual case with corporate shenanigans: it's more profitable to break the law, make a fortune, and pay a fine than to not.
They'll do it again when they get the chance.
 
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this is a win-win for Europeans.

it's of course a loss for Google, but hell,i don't have any stock in them. No sentiment as well.

worse possible thing is that a valid competitor comes about and knock Google of the throne in Europe..oh wait, that is a good thing
 

dexvx

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Was this a cut off from just Google Play on that device, or ALL Google services on that device? As long as there are easily accessible alternatives, I have no problem. As a consumer, it is your choice and your responsibility to weigh in on the pros and cons of going with Android or an alternative such as FireOS. To me, for it to be monopolistic I believe that there should be no alternative that is easily accessible by most people, or if there is, it is extremely limited in matching features. (excluding colluding companies)
IIRC, it was all Google services need to be bundled together. Which is why phones either use all of Google services or none at all (FireOS/Chinese ecosystem).

And it was Google heavily 'discouraging' third party OS's like Tizen, Ubuntu, and what not.
 

Lakados

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Definitely have mixed feelings on it. Mostly I think it's too little too late. The thing that makes this better than Microsoft in the 90's is that this time Apple is actually competing and has significant market share and application support. There's 2 viable options. Windows had no competition and so we've suffered through windows me, vista, 8 etc and just had to deal with it.
Apple currently makes up less than 13% of the global noble market, google on the other hand is upwards of 86%. Granted that is a larger slice than Apple had against Microsoft during the Me, Vista, and 8 days it is hardly a significant market share.
 

sc5mu93

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Google holds significantly more power than Microsoft did in the 90’s. The bigger distinction between Apple and Google in this ruling is apple doesn’t integrate a search engine into their OS you can freely choose it furthermore they don’t monetize user data which is the majority of googles income.
Point of distinction: Google doesn't integrate Google Search into the OS. It is contractually bundled. Apple doesn't exert that weight because they build the handsets themselves and don't have to apply that weight.
From the article:
"The EU said Google ensures that Google Search and Chrome are pre-installed on "practically all Android devices" sold in Europe. Users who find these apps on their phones are likely to stick with them and "do not download competing apps in numbers that can offset the significant commercial advantage derived on pre-installation.”

Google’s actions reduce the incentives for manufacturers to install and for users to seek out competing apps, it said.

The probe targeted contracts that require Android-phones makers to take Google’s search and browser apps and other Google services when they want to license the Play app store, which officials say is a "must-have" for new phones."
 

Krazy925

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I’d be the happiest kid in the world if I could make Spotify my default audio player in iOS.

Stupid Apple. EU fix that!
 

NeghVar

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I'm looking through Amazon app store now. Correct, no Google-developed apps. But I do see many third-party apps that claim they allow the use of gmail, youtube, search and other Google services. My daughter has a FireOS tablet which she uses for games, Netflix, and Plex. It meets all her needs. I will test some of those third-party apps to see how much interoperability they have when I get home tonight. But still, it is the choice of the consumer. Are there any easily accessible alternatives? Weigh in on what you are sacrificing by going with the alternative. Figuratively speaking, does Google have a gun to your head saying go with our products or else? We are not entitled to software suites and collections the way we want them. Our options are what the various corporations offer.
 

raz-0

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But apple can FORCE me to install safari and a bunch of apps on their eco system?
This isn't about consumer protection, it's about anti-competitive practices. Apple puts safari on the iphone. It is their product. Apple is not manipulating other businesses into doing their bidding. That's the key difference.
 

Mohonri

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Fact is, "Use Service X to get access to Service Y" is textbook anti-competitive practice, and exactly what Google is doing here. The EU is totally justified in this fine.
Bingo. I believe the term is "illegal tying," i.e. if you want Product X, you must also purchase unrelated Product Y, and yes, it's one aspect of antitrust law. In this case, Chrome and Google Search (Product Y) are unrelated to Google Services (Product X), and so Google should be able to require their inclusion as a condition of licensing Google Services.

There's a great explanation of the idea over here
 
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