The EC will assess if, by entering into anticompetitive agreements and/or by abusing a possible dominant position, Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems, mobile communication applications and services in the EU. The EC is already investigating Google's behaviour in internet search.
The EC says that in recent years, Android has become the leading operating system for smart mobile devices in the EEA (European Economic Area), to the extent that today, the majority of smartphones in Europe are based on Android.
Following the receipt of two complaints, as well as an initial investigation carried out by the Commission on its own initiative, the Commission has now opened a formal investigation to assess if certain conditions in Google's agreements associated with the use of Android and Google’s proprietary applications and services breach EU antitrust rules.
More specifically, on the basis of the information currently available to the Commission, the investigation will at this stage focus on the following three allegations:
whether Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival mobile applications or services by requiring or incentivising smartphone and tablet manufacturers to exclusively pre-install Google’s own applications or services;
whether Google has prevented smartphone and tablet manufacturers who wish to install Google's applications and services on some of their Android devices from developing and marketing modified and potentially competing versions of Android (so-called “Android forks”) on other devices, thereby illegally hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems and mobile applications or services;
whether Google has illegally hindered the development and market access of rival applications and services by tying or bundling certain Google applications and services distributed on Android devices with other Google applications, services and/or application programming interfaces of Google.