Competitors lodge antitrust complaint against Google in Europe

Google competitors -- no, not including Apple -- have lodged an antitrust complaint against the company with the European Union. Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and others, all under the name Fairsearch Europe, have alleged that Google is using Android’s dominant market position to provide an advantage for Google apps. According to the New York Times, Fairsearch is alleging that Google is muscling their OEM partners into giving Google’s apps prominent placement:

For example, phone makers that agree to use Android — and that also want Google applications like YouTube — face contractual requirements to place those applications and other Google-branded applications in prominent positions on the mobile device’s desktop, Mr. Vinje said.

Fairsearch, which probably shouldn't be confused with something actually fair -- calls Google’s free distribution of Android “predatory” because companies like Microsoft, which sells licenses to OEMs, have a hard time making their money back when they’re competing with Google. Essentially they're accusing Google of dumping, but with software instead of hardware.

The prominence of Google’s apps on Android phones puts others at a disadvantage. It’s a bit funny for Microsoft to be complaining about this, seeing as they were penelized for essentially this same practice with regards to web browsers on Windows. What a difference a half a decade makes.

Google is already under investigation by the European Commission for similar potential antitrust violations, using its dominant position in web search to push its web app ecosystem. Android itself is facing scrutiny as well, separately from either the web search or Fairsearch complaints.

We've seen what happened to Microsoft post-anti-trust. iOS users remain huge Google services users, even as iPhones and iPads compete with Android devices. What's you take? Is Google crossing any lines? And would this help Apple or just set them up as the next potential target?

Source: The New York Times, via Android Central