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Google may have to make major changes to Android
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-07-10 22:12:33

The punishment from Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's competition chief, is expected to include a fine ranging into the billions of dollars, according to people familiar with her thinking, marking the second time in as many years that the region’s antitrust authorities have found that Google threatens corporate rivals and consumers.

At the heart of the E.U.'s looming decision are Google's policies that pressure smartphone and tablet manufacturers that use Google's Android operating system to pre-install the tech giant's own apps. In the E.U.'s eyes, device makers such as HTC and Samsung face an anti-competitive choice: Set Google Search as the default search service and offer Google's Chrome browser, or lose access to Android's popular app store. Lacking that portal, owners of Android smartphones or tablets can't easily download games or other apps - or services from Google’s competitors - offered by third-party developers.

Vestager has argued the arrangements ensure Google's continued dominance of the Internet ecosystem. As a result, her forthcoming ruling could prohibit Google from striking such app-installation deals with device makers, experts have said. Alternatively, the E.U. could force the company to give consumers an easier way to switch services, like search engines, on their phones or tablets.

If Google illegally pressured OEMs, then they ought to be punished. I'm not sure forcing changes to the default services and apps is the right way to go, though.

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Familiar
By The1stImmortal on 2018-07-10 22:37:05
It's pretty much the same thing Microsoft got in trouble for before - bundling and setting IE and Windows Media Player as default apps and expecting OEMs to preserve that configuration, at the risk of losing their certification access.

As much as I dislike Apple's practices, their vertical integration means they can pretty much do as they like here unlike Google (from a competition standpoint anyway)
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RE: Familiar
By jonsmirl on 2018-07-10 22:53:38
Microsoft doesn't have AOSP sitting out there free for anyone to use. Why isn't anyone in the EU using AOSP to build a competing ecosystem like Amazon and Xiaomi have done?

Instead it appears that no one in the EU wants to do any hard work and they are going to allow phone vendors to replace the Google Play Store and take the 30% cut. Plus they will replace the advertising engines.

So Google is going to get hit with all of the development and testing work and expense, and then some EU freeloader is going to walk off with all of the revenue.

And how can she use a giant company like Samsung has an example? Xiaomi is 1/50th the size of Samsung and they built their own platform on AOSP. Heck there is even cyrongenmod which has been assembled by a bunch of unpaid hackers.
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Idiot browser choice box in the EU
By jonsmirl on 2018-07-10 22:59:06
If they want to make another idiotic browser choice box in the EU, then the way they should do it is to require all phones to ship with only AOSP installed.

Then when you boot the phone you get prompted with a choice of "Google GMS", "FireOS", "XiaomiOS', "CyranogenMod", etc. All of those 'skin' can be installed on top of the AOSP base.

It is insane to allow EU companies to replace Google GMS piecemeal. It is utterly obvious that only two piece will get replaced -- Play Store and Ad engine. ie where all the revenue comes from.
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RE[2]: Familiar
By The1stImmortal on 2018-07-10 23:04:34
> Microsoft doesn't have AOSP sitting out there free for anyone to use. Why isn't anyone in the EU using AOSP to build a competing ecosystem like Amazon and Xiaomi have done?
No, but they had a dominant market position in computer operating systems at the time all that stuff happened, and were leveraging it to increase their market share in other markets

Google's effectively doing the same thing, leveraging their dominant market position in mobile OSes to increase/maintain market share in mobile browsers and in OS marketplaces.

AOSP might be sourced from the same core code but it is, from the EU's perspective, an entirely different product and has minimal to no market share (despite being compatible with Google's Android).

The price Google charges for Android is likewise irrelevant (and actually can count against them if it's considered dumping).

So yes, it is comparable and an example of illegal leveraging of a monopoly or dominant market share in other markets.

> Instead it appears that no one in the EU wants to do any hard work and they are going to allow phone vendors to replace the Google Play Store and take the 30% cut. Plus they will replace the advertising engines.

It's basically just them saying the clauses in the Android licensing agreement that force the marketplace and browser are illegally anti-competitive. Unenforceable and illegal clauses in contracts are common, and if Google wants to get paid for Android they'll have to find a way to do so that doesn't involve illegal contracts.

Despite what some seem to think, companies including Google don't have a *right* to make money. They have an opportunity to do so within the law, but if the method they choose is illegal then, tough.

> So Google is going to get hit with all of the development and testing work and expense, and then some EU freeloader is going to walk off with all of the revenue.
Google chooses to do that R&D. That's their problem.

> And how can she use a giant company like Samsung has an example? Xiaomi is 1/50th the size of Samsung and they built their own platform on AOSP. Heck there is even cyrongenmod which has been assembled by a bunch of unpaid hackers.

Market. Share.
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More EU Bullying
By imthefrizzlefry on 2018-07-10 23:05:13
The EU government just wants to bully American companies. They don't care about the quality of the products or the damage they do to citizens. They are just greedy and want more money.

I am happy I don't live there.

The primary difference between this and the Microsoft case, is AOSP and 3rd party app stores. Manufacturers are perfectly capable of loading a 3rd party app store, and providing services to compete with Google; however, you can't make billions if you're reasonable.

On the other hand, that has been a disaster in China. There are a dozen app stores that are flooded with Malware and poor quality clones of popular apps. No wonder so many people in China love iPhones.

Edited 2018-07-10 23:07 UTC
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RE[3]: Familiar
By jonsmirl on 2018-07-10 23:51:23
How can you complain about Google market share in the EU when no one is even trying to compete with them? AOSP is sitting there, get some EU people together and try to compete. Why are you assuming you will fail without even trying? And I love the EU's determination that Apple is not a competitor.

Consider the outcome from doing this, you are going to get phones jammed to the gills with bloatware sticking ads in your face. And of course the phone vendors will make all of this uninstallable. Then all your apps will quit working and absolutely no one will care about fixing them.

Like the brilliant Google shopping decision. That brilliant decision has ensured that ten years from now most EU retailers will be dead and you will be buying everything from Amazon. Can't you see that Google was helping EU retailers?

Tell the truth, the EU wants money and they are stealing it from US tech companies. If this continues it is going to trigger retaliation in the US against EU companies. The US is fully capable of creating silly reasons for multi-billion dollar fines too.
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RE[4]: Familiar
By The1stImmortal on 2018-07-11 01:22:44
> How can you complain about Google market share in the EU when no one is even trying to compete with them? AOSP is sitting there, get some EU people together and try to compete. Why are you assuming you will fail without even trying? And I love the EU's determination that Apple is not a competitor.
Obviously people are trying to compete with them.
And I'm not complaining about their dominance per se. The problem comes when they leverage that dominance to affect other markets. That's not allowed.

> Consider the outcome from doing this, you are going to get phones jammed to the gills with bloatware sticking ads in your face. And of course the phone vendors will make all of this uninstallable. Then all your apps will quit working and absolutely no one will care about fixing them.

Not necessarily. That's one possible outcome sure. However, it's more likely there'll be a spate of alternative setups and then everything will go back to how it is now, because they'll be using essentially the same OS builds as outside the EU.

And lets face it - phones, like PCs, often are in this state anyway.

Also, you already can't "uninstall" most of the core Google Apps, (though you can disable them in most cases)

Like the brilliant Google shopping decision. That brilliant decision has ensured that ten years from now most EU retailers will be dead and you will be buying everything from Amazon. Can't you see that Google was helping EU retailers?

Tell the truth, the EU wants money and they are stealing it from US tech companies. If this continues it is going to trigger retaliation in the US against EU companies. The US is fully capable of creating silly reasons for multi-billion dollar fines too.
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Comment by Phloptical
By Phloptical on 2018-07-11 01:45:54
The other side of the European Anti-US coin is that, the push was made because the OEM apps are complete CRAP and give Android a bad name (....looking at you, Samsung)
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AOSP
By klahjn on 2018-07-11 03:45:45
AOSP would be a great idea to be honest. Then have a site where you can install these apps if you so choose. I think that vendors should focus more on the hardware than the software tweaks they want to add, because i've not seen a vendor do any better than google has thus far.
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RE[2]: Familiar
By unclefester on 2018-07-11 04:10:50
> Xiaomi is 1/50th the size of Samsung and they built their own platform on AOSP.

Xiaomi merely reskin Android (MUIU). Some of their models use Android One.

https://www.firstpost.com/tech/ne...

https://www.xiaomiaustralia.com.a...
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