The European Union has opened an antitrust action against Google, formally charging Google with abusing the dominant position of its Android mobile operating system.
European Union antitrust regulators argue that by requiring mobile phone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser, the U.S. company was denying consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and stifling innovation.
The Commission also alleges that Google has breached EU antitrust rules by preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code.
Also at issue are Google’s alleged practices giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google search on their devices.
Google is already facing EU charges over the promotion of its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services.
To some, the action is reminiscent of similar charges against Microsoft. In 2003, the EU ordered Microsoft to offer both a version of Windows without Windows Media Player, as well as supplying the information necessary for competing networking software to interact fully with Windows desktops and servers.
In March 2004, the EU ordered Microsoft to pay €497 million ($794 million or £381 million), the largest fine ever handed out by the EU at the time.