Google is set to face legal charges for favouring its own applications on its Android operating systems, Reuters has reported.
The US tech giant is under investigation by the European Commission (EC). The regulator is believed to be close to charging Google for alleged software deals with smartphone manufacturers that require them to pre-load devices with Google’s own apps.
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager expressed concerns that this may have prevented consumers from using new apps: ‘Our concern is that by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.’
A recent court case between Oracle and Google revealed that Android generated profits of $22bn (£15.3bn) for the US tech giant.
EC to block Three/O2
News of the ruling comes as the Euro watchdog is believed to be gearing up to block the takeover of O2 by Three UK owners CK Hutchison. The deal is being overseen by Vestager, who is rumoured to have not been convinced by remedies put forward by Hutch to alleviate UK competition concerns. Should the merger go ahead, Hutch has pledged a UK market price freeze as well as divesting spectrum to Sky, TalkTalk and Tesco Mobile.
Despite this, it has been reported that the EC doesn’t believe it will create enough rivalry to prevent a UK price hike. With a month left to go until a final decision is made, the timing of Britain’s in/out EU referendum has also increased pressure on the merger.