Google Says Its Deals With Phone Makers For Android Boosts Competition

While rejecting the charges levelled against it by the competition of the European Union of Alphabet unit Google adopting a carrot-and-stick tactic that stifled competition with respect to the firm’s deals with Android phone makers, the United States based company said that such deals instead boosted competition.

The EU had slapped a record 4.3-billion-euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine on the company over its tis policy.

Google’s representative said this while talking on the second day of a week-long hearing that the company is attending in trying to convince the second-highest court of Europe to reverse the fine as well as an order by the European Commission seeking to make the company to loosen its hold on Android devices.

The search engine’s Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADAs) was at the centre of debate between lawyers for Google and the EU competition executive. Under the MADAs, phone makers (OEMs) are required to mandatorily pre-install in their devices the Google Search app and Chrome browser app against them licensing Google Play for free.

“This licensing model is what attracted OEMs to the Android platform, and what enabled those OEMs to offer a consistent and high-quality user experience at the lowest possible price,” Google’s lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the General Court.

“People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to,” he said.

The argument was rejected by Commission lawyer Carlos Urraca Caviedes and called the deals and the other restrictions carrot-and-stick policy of Google towards smartphone manufacturers using the Android operating system.

“These helped Google ensured its competitors would not achieve critical mass to challenge its dominance,” he told the court. In view of the significant number of users of Android powered phones as well as the market power of Google, which is the most popular internet search engine of the world, such deals were unnecessary, he also said.

What was done by Google “goes beyond what is necessary to develop and maintain the Android platform”, Urraca Caviedes said.

A verdict may come next year. The case is T-604/18 Google vs European Commission.

(Adapted from NDTV.com)

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