SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google faces another antitrust probe in the European Union, with authorities set to investigate whether the firm's licensing of the Android mobile operating system has been anticompetitive.
The Financial Times has seen documents from the Brussels antitrust watchdog that reveal it will investigate Google for alleged 'anticompetitive' Android licensing practices.
The European Commission (EC) apparently will look at whether Google has licensed Android to smartphone makers "below cost" in a bid to get the software more widely adopted, and whether it tried to cancel or delay the launch of smartphones running competitive mobile operating systems. The EC will also look at whether Google influenced the preinstalled apps on Android devices to promote its own services and gave these apps prominent places on the handsets' homescreens.
Unsurprisingly, this investigation follows complaints by rival companies, most notably Nokia and Microsoft, which have alleged that Google used Android to force manufacturers to promote its own services instead of other options.
This isn't the first time Nokia and Microsoft have lodged complaints against Google, having complained back in April that firm used Android to promote its own services.
Google denied the latest claims in a statement. A spokesperson said, "Android is an open platform that fosters competition. Handset makers, carriers and consumers can decide how to use Android, including which applications they want to use."
It's still unclear whether Google will be subjected to a formal invesigation, but the EC is sending a 23 page questionnaire to handset makers and mobile operators. µ