European competition authorities have accused Google of “abusing its position” in the licensing of its Android operating system to tablet and smartphone makers.
According to the European Commission’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, the firm places “unjustified restrictions” on manufacturers which are designed to maintain its dominance of the search market.
These restrictions include requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Chrome browser, making them the default option, and preventing manufacturers from selling devices using competing operating systems based on Android’s open-source code.
In addition, Google is accused of giving financial incentives to companies for exclusively pre-installing Google Search on their devices.
In a statement, Vestager said: “A competitive mobile internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe.
“Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google’s behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
“These rules apply to all companies active in Europe. Google now has the opportunity to reply to the Commission’s concerns.”