FairSearch Calls for EU Inquiry into Google’s Anti-Competitive Mobile Strategy

A coalition of tech companies, including Microsoft, Nokia, TripAdvisor and Expedia has called for a rigorous investigation of Googles mobile practices to protect consumers and ensure competition.

FairSearch has filed a complaint with the European Commission that says Google is using deceptive conduct to lockout competition in mobile. The complainants argue that in offering Android below-cost for free to manufacturers, Google ensures its apps come pre-loaded on handsets and it is therefore in a preferential position to collect and control valuable consumer data.

“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, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition. “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.”

FairSearch was founded by travel tech companies in 2010 to urge the US Justice Department to block Googles buyout of a ITA Software, a flight search company used both by Google and its competitors. Google now owns ITA.

Google was criticised by the Federal Trade Commission in January for using unfair business practices, including lifting content from other companies websites.