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Big Technology Companies Complain to EU about Google’s Search Practices
On Tuesday, lobbying group FairSearch made public a complaint to the EU accusing Google of using Android for diverting traffic to its search engine. Current members of FairSearch include big companies like Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Twenga, Foundem and adMarketplace.
In a statement, Thomas Vinje, FairSearch’s lawyer said, “Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data.”
Vinje further added, “Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system.”
The EU Commission has declined to comment on the complaint; however, the timing of the complaint is significant in that it comes at a time when Google is trying to resolve a two-year long investigation by the EU Commission into its internet search practices. The possibility of Google being hit by a $5 billion fine or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue is still there.
However, recent actions of FairSearch show that big competitors like Microsoft and Nokia are asking antitrust regulators in EU to take notice of Google’s attempts to block competition in mobile telephony.
The complaint by FairSearch also comes at a time when the focus of the EU Commission’s investigation is already shifting. While the initial focus had been on desktop search mechanisms, last year, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia had commented that he had received complaints about Android.
Back in the United States, Google had won a major victory when the FTC closed an investigation on complaints along similar lines without taking much action.