Microsoft and others file complaint over Android’s ‘predatory pricing’

Google’s provision of its Android operating system for free is alleged to be anti-competitive

The complaint comes as the European Commission’s antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, continues an investigation into Google’s dominance

The complaint comes as the European Commission’s antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, continues an investigation into Google’s dominance

 

Fairsearch Europe, a group including rivals Microsoft, claims the Android operating system is a “deceptive way” to dominate the search market.

Google’s provision of its Android operating system for free is anti-competitive “predatory pricing”, according to a complaint filed with European regulators by Fairsearch Europe, a group whose members include bitter rival Microsoft.

The group says Android is “a deceptive way to build advantages” which aims to “dominate” the mobile marketplace and cement its control over consumer internet data for online advertising as usage shifts to mobile.

The complaint comes as the European Commission’s antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, continues an investigation into Google’s dominance in search that has ground on for more than two years without any clear action. The EU competition group has raised four principal objections to Google’s activities in Europe – normally a precursor to regulatory action.

Mr Almunia’s team has also been considering whether to include Android in any settlement with Google, but had not reached any definitive answer. Mr Almunia declined to comment about the complaint but said that he would be receiving proposals this week from Google on how to settle the commission’s objections.

Android-powered phones make up about 70 per cent of those shipped in Europe at present, although a smaller amount of the installed base. Microsoft’s Windows Phone makes up around 5 per cent.

Predatory pricing complaints follow the provision by a company of a product at below cost in order to drive rivals out of the market. Only Google and Microsoft provide licensed mobile OSs; the other principal players, Apple and BlackBerry, do not license theirs. Nokia has ceased licensing its Symbian operating system.

A Google spokesman said: “We continue to work co-operatively with the European Commission. ” – (Guardian service )