Microsoft hits Google with EU competition complaint

High-profile search and tech companies have filed a complaint accusing Google of anti-competitive actions in the mobile sector

Google is facing fresh criticism in Europe after a number of technology companies accused it of anti-competitive behaviour.

The 17-member-strong lobby group FairSearch – which names Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Expedia and Trip Advisor as some of the participants – filed a complaint with the European Commission claiming Google’s approach to the mobile industry gave it an unfair advantage.

It claimed the Silicon Valley giant forced mobile manufacturers to pre-load key applications, such as Maps or YouTube, onto prominent places on the device in return for its Android operating system (OS), putting rival apps at a disadvantage.

Also, the open source mobile OS comes so cheaply, other software companies wanting to license their creations are cut out of the market unless they drop their prices.

“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a Trojan Horse to deceive partners, monopolise the mobile marketplace and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, counsel to FairSearch in Brussels.

“We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. 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 European Commission confirmed to Computer Weekly that it had received the complaint, but was not willing to comment further.

Google is also currently under investigation by European privacy regulators for failing to change the way it manages user data, despite being under instruction to do so by the European Union.

We contacted Google for comment, but the spokesman would say no more on the case than: "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."

Read more on Mobile apps and software