Google under FTC probe for limiting competitor access to Android mobile OS

26 Sep 2015


Google is facing a probe by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for alleged throttling competition by restricting competitors' access to its Android mobile-operating system, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

According to the report, the FTC reached an agreement with the justice department to lead to an investigation of Google's Android business.

FTC officials had met Google representatives who said the search giant prioritised its own services on the Android platform, even as it restricted others.

The Android mobile platform brought together a number of Google products, including search and maps, into one bundle, on the lines of the more dominant Microsoft Windows platforms.

The investigation, which is in the initial stages, could end without a case against Google. Nevertheless, it showed that the FTC was again looking at one of biggest US companies, two years after closing a separate investigation into Google's internet search business.

According to the people, the FTC's handling of the earlier probe had left some technology companies sceptical of the agency's willingness to bring a case, according to the people.

According to commentators, Android might seem like a strange target for an anti-trust inquiry in the US as Google does not directly profit from the mobile operating software installed on the vast majority of Android powered smartphones.

Even though Android was used on around 52 per cent of smartphones in the country, Apple, the world's most valuable company still had close to half the market even as it commanded most of the attention and almost all of the industry's profits.

The inquiry was not really about Android as such, rather regulators would look at whether Google unfairly used the software for promoting its other dominant services, according to the Bloomberg report.

Unlike Apple's iOS, which Apple maintained and controlled, Android was an ''open'' system that Google gave away.

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