EU Charges Google For Unfairly Leveraging Android Operating System
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
Now to Google versus the European Union. At first, the fight was over Google unfairly promoting its preferred shopping results. Now, there's a battle over its operating system, Android. NPR's Aarti Shahani explains.
AARTI SHAHANI, BYLINE: As if being the number one search engine weren't enough, Brussels charges, the American giant is unfairly leveraging Android. Thomas Vinje, lawyer for the lead complainants, a nonprofit called FairSearch, lays out the argument. Point one - Google is telling phone makers, you can't just take one app like Google Play or Chrome or YouTube; it's a package deal.
THOMAS VINJE: They're saying that if you take Google search, for example, then you must also take other Google applications, as decided by Google.
SHAHANI: Point two - phone manufacturers split advertising revenue with Google on search, but to get the money, they can't preload other search engines like Microsoft Bing. Google is like this controlling lover.
VINJE: We've got to be exclusive or you don't get any money, you don't get any share of the revenues derived from searches on your devices.
SHAHANI: Point three - phone makers have to take the android operating system as-is from Google or build their own version.
VINJE: And so these anti-fragmentation agreements - is what they're called - prevent phone manufacturers from innovating.
SHAHANI: Google points out that lots of companies put their apps in a suite - take Microsoft Office. Plenty of other companies, like Amazon, have figured out how to use Android on their own. And consumers like Google apps, so the company is providing a valuable service, keeping costs low and flexibility high for manufacturers. If found guilty, the company could be fined billions of dollars. Aarti Shahani, NPR News.
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