Sounds a lot how Microsoft abused licensing agreements with OEMs to discourage them from selling PCs not bundled with Windows.
Also, two wrongs don't make a right. Microsoft getting off way too easy does not mean that Google should get off easy, too.
There are lots of cheap Chinese Android phones simply filled with malware from the factory.
If Google allowed phone makers to ship Android forks, this whole problem would become a lot worse. I think this Google policy is actually pro-consumer, and the EU is wrong on this point.
No, I don’t think that reducing choice and locking them in Google’s ecosystem is pro-consumer, even if done for the right reasons.
Let’s remember that Android was welcomed by many of us as a free (as in freedom) alternative to iOS.
If you want a locked-down, secure and polished OS, then Apple’s iOS is far better at this game. The only reason why Android is dominating the market right now is because it gave freedom to users and freedom to phone makers. And Google dialing that freedom down after becoming so popular is anti-competitive.
It’s essentially a bait and switch, which is why I believe Google deserves that fine.
I would say that the biggest reason it's dominating is because it's cheap. For most people I've talked to, they don't like Android, but prefer to pay 20% of the cost of an iPhone.
Seems like you're projecting your own expectations onto what Google has really been selling all along. Google doesn't advertise Android as "free as in freedom." OEMs comply with their conditions. It's how it works.
Andy Rubin in 2010 speaking on how open Android is:
>the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"
And as far as “free as in freedom” goes, the US law agrees with me via “estoppel”.
(And it's not just an abstract "what if I want to shoot my own foot off" issue. Consider e.g. sandboxing, which by its very nature kills interoperability. In a non-sandboxed environment, you can write code that forces two applications to interoperate, whether their authors like it or not. In a sandboxed environment, you're limited to what vendors allow you.)
I kind of agree with them, actually.
You'd just have to give several huge, clear warnings of what that means before allowing it.
And, by the way, security? Come on, if they really cared about the security/privacy of their users the permissions' systems would not be made of those huge blankets that are more like websites' cookie banners than real useable security controls.
Besides the fine maybe Google should also be forcing existing installs to provide a choice?
There may or may not be overlap on many of these but there's never a 1:1 relationship between any of them.
It's crazy to say a product only succeeded because Google pushed it hard. Google (and Microsoft, Yahoo, etc) has a LONG list of failed products they pushed hard (Wave, Google Plus, etc).
Did it play a role? Sure. But prominent advertising is not the same as forcing hardware manufacturers to pre-install software. Nor does it suddenly make customers want a shitty product they wouldn't otherwise use.
Firefox and IE were riddled with code debt issues so they couldn’t move fast.
Chrome was a great example of software written by a company with resources to dominate a huge market segment relatively quickly. I’m guessing Chrome earned Sundar Picchai a lot of good karma within Google to later become CEO.
For instance, by default, the installer for AVG's free antivirus program would install Google Chrome and make it the default browser.
It's only a problem when you squeeze out competition by doing exclusive contracts with all major distributors in a particular distribution channel.
However, the point was that Chrome didn't mysteriously gain market share solely based on some sort of technical superiority.
Google paid to gain market share with the sorts of clueless users who click next during install wizards without reading anything.
Although, it helps to remember that in the EU, you don't need nearly as big a market share before their competition law kicks in and places restrictions on your behavior, so things that you can still get away with in the US can be quite illegal in the EU.
Chrome's quality was a necessary, but probably not sufficient condition for it to gain the market traction that it did.
Firefox has rapidly improved since it's inception and was rapidly stealing IE market share prior to Chrome.
Had Chrome not been rammed down people's throats then we might have a more even landscape than we do today.
Plus email-SPAM(!!!) about installing Chrome when you signed in to your Google-account on a new computer using a non-Chrome browser.
It also used dubious wording: “You need to upgrade your browser. Click here”
And paying to have it bundled as a drive-by installation with other software.
And Chrome-only websites. And the list just goes on and on.
It was spyware tactics + SPAM all over the place. And the sheer amount of it was mind-blowing.
Even technical people who explicitly didn’t want Chrome had a hard time avoiding it. Imagine the effect on regular, non-technical users.
Saying it was all down to technical merit is just appoligist and delusional.
With Chrome’s dominance and semi-monoculture undeniably in place, Google is now using that position to force new things, like subverting open web-standards with DRM.
I can’t believe people are so non-chalantly allowing this to happen.
When doing PC support for layusers, I've found that: Most people don't know what Chrome is, and don't know the difference between it, Edge, IE, and the malicious Chromium fork they have installed on their PCs. (Side note: May the soulless individuals behind the "WebDiscover Browser" suffer a life of misery and despair as punishment for their crimes.) They end up with Chrome (or a malicious fork thereof) due to a bundle installer.
IT actually exists to help ensure people can do their job, and do their job faster. As a general goal, I like to learn about people's business processes for the exact purpose of seeing how our IT environment can be improved to expedite their work.
And having five browsers on a PC doesn't make it easier for end users. I have no problem dealing with five browsers, but I get a lot of complaints from people when they open link A in browser B and link C in browser D and don't understand why things don't work.
You may have experienced poor IT departments in the past, or thought you experienced poor IT departments because you didn't understand the other considerations in play, but that's hardly an excuse to assume any given IT choice is some sort of attempt to prevent employees from doing their jobs.
That's a faulty assumption right there. Usually, people providing workers with their computers and software have limited idea what those workers actually need to work efficiently. This works out fine when workflows are defined so well a trained monkey could do the job, and fails miserably when the worker needs any sort of creative control over their workflow or work output (programmers, designers, all sorts of engineers and technicians, etc.). Most corporate work is probably closer to monkey level than to creative level, but enterprises love to do company-wide policy changes, making all work conform to lowest common denominator.
> You may have experienced poor IT departments in the past, or thought you experienced poor IT departments because you didn't understand the other considerations in play, but that's hardly an excuse to assume any given IT choice is some sort of attempt to prevent employees from doing their jobs.
I've experienced one competent IT department in my life, and their best quality was helping shield our programming team from policies like application whitelisting or limiting admin access, that they were forced to deploy company-wide. For other IT departments I dealt with, most of their actions were explainable if viewed through the lens of caring about the infrastructure to the extreme - that is, "if no one uses it, no one will break it" approach.
You accuse me of making a "faulty assumption" about my own environment, and then proceed to assume that you can speak for most/all IT environments.
When I state "if you need Chrome, we'll provide Chrome", that's true of my environment. It's also true of my environment, if we don't provide Chrome, and you find a way to install it yourself, you'd be violating policy, and barring the casual mistake of not knowing that, potentially referred to HR. Obviously, in the ideal "don't need to involve HR" case, we just make sure you can't install it.
Now, what isn't just true of my environment, but true of all environments, is that users installing random web browsers is incredibly dangerous, and something every IT department should be preventing if they own the hardware. I don't think that's even a controversial statement, I'm confused why it's being treated like one.
Software developers often didn’t bother testing or ensuring that their software would install (or even run properly) without admin rights.
Mechanics bring their own tools frequently but their employers don't try to repo their personal vehicles just because the mechanic used the same tools at home and at work
Even in a BYOD environment, an organization should be ensuring any devices granted access to resources are appropriately patched and secured.
It's a bit shady to make it 'automatically the default browser'. But that is a problem with the OS. An installer shouldn't be able to make that choice for the user.
Microsoft can never let the marketing people stop having control and ruining their products. They are trying to make it more useable and user friendlier, but it's funny seeing the push back within the product.
Windows 10 telemetry is a great example: They shot themselves in the foot PR-wise on an otherwise excellent operating system, chasing a pile of metadata that won't really be significantly more useful than what they get from people who voluntarily agree to be Windows Insiders. There isn't a good business case for preventing people from shutting off error reporting, and it's had a huge impact on mitigating all of their other efforts to repair their image.
It's a shame, really, because Windows 10 is a decent OS, and it fixed most of the issues with 8.
It doesn't matter how much goodwill a specific department might have, power struggle and department differences always end up impacting it.
I mean, you really could have said the same thing about IE 4 when it came out. It was actually better than Communicator at the time, which was a bloated, unfocused, mess of a browser.
It's hard to find news and reviews from 1997 to back me up, but here are a couple accounts I found recollecting their experiences with the browsers: https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Netscape-lose-ground-to-IE
Equally, IE was far superior to Netscape when it came out ;)
This is not to say Chrome is (now) the inferior browser but saying their marketing push has nothing to do with its market share is ignoring reality.
To this day Google is pushing their browser if you dare to use their services with Edge.
On the other hand, building "web" apps that only run on chrome, that was a shocker for me.
Wow, I wasn't aware of this. Do you recall any examples?
I don’t think we should dismis doing what customers want and try to find reasons for succes only from marketing.
With Chrome Google kind of repeated what they did with search.
I also wonder how they come up with the multi-billion dollar values? How does that massive amount of money actually help repair whatever "economical damage" that was inflicted by not having some sort of app pre-installed on a device?
Massive fines discourage monopolistic behavior, if nothing else.
The problem is businesses may take it as a signal that the EU is against foreign businesses rather than against monopolistic practices, in which case the thing being deterred is doing business in the EU rather than monopolistic practices. To show otherwise they would have to levy equally large fines against local businesses engaged in the same sort of practices, which they haven't and likely won't.
If they really wanted to signal discouragement of monopolistic behavior rather than a cash grab they would be ordering specific conduct rather than excessive fines. For example, if the issue is that they promoted Google Chrome in an unacceptable way, prohibit them from distributing Google Chrome in the EU for five years. And then do the same thing to Microsoft just to be even-handed, because they're still bundling their browser with Windows. And likewise with Apple and Safari.
Let everyone use Firefox for five years and see how much browser bundling happens after that.
And if that actually restores competition then you don't need a five billion dollar fine.
That's basic proportionality.
That is entirely tautological. It omits the reasoning under which that spectacular amount of irreparable damages have actually occurred to consumers.
"They have a lot of money and we would like to have that" is not a valid method of calculating damages.
the fine has been calculated on the basis of the value of Google's revenue from search advertising services on Android devices in the EEA.
In other words, Google had an unfair advantage for search on android devices and leveraged that into revenue. The fine is a percentage of that ill-gotten revenue.
There’s an official guideline for calculating damages when anticompetitive behavior is found: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:52...
"They have a lot of money and we would like to have that."
The actual "damages" have nothing to do with their total revenue, only the revenue incident to the behavior in question, which is an independent value and not a percentage of total revenue.
For example, if they improve their search engine which causes more people to use it, it doesn't change the actual amount of damage from separate actions -- it may even reduce it by transitioning some of the defaulted users into users who would make an affirmative choice in their favor -- but it would have increased the amount of the fine when calculated as a percentage of revenue because it would have increased their total revenue.
If the revenue related to wrong doing is in the billions and the harm is in the thousands, attempting to prohibit the conduct instead of imposing a small tax and using the money to compensate the victims is obviously a large dead-weight economic loss.
You do understand that doing that would probably cost those companies (and everyone else) a lot more?
We only want a level playing field. Giving companies a real fine is just a way to make sure the board and the shareholders actually gets the message ;-)
It's punishment. If somebody wants it then somebody has a perverse incentive.
> You do understand that doing that would probably cost those companies (and everyone else) a lot more?
Exactly. You actually punish them, in the way directly contrary the the goal they were trying to achieve with their bad behavior, without suspiciously enriching yourselves in a way that calls your true motives into question.
> We only want a level playing field. Giving companies a real fine is just a way to make sure the board and the shareholders actually gets the message ;-)
But what message are they getting?
It's not as if there is a clear roadmap for how to avoid this sort of thing. Antitrust laws are super vague and prohibit a wide variety of common business practices, to make it effective to use them against powerful nefarious entities with many lawyers. The theory is that the government will only use them against bad actors. But if the government considers you a bad actor just because you're a foreign company, what are you supposed to do then?
Most foreign companies aren't considered bad actors.
We are talking about 1) the old Microsoft here - definitely a bad actor - getting rid of it seems to have been refreshing even for Microsoft shareholders.
- 2) Google, a company we many of us loved at some point but who might now be in need of some refreshing at least in some areas.
Google wasn't considered a bad actor until then they were.
> the old Microsoft here - definitely a bad actor - getting rid of it seems to have been refreshing even for Microsoft shareholders.
The old Microsoft deserved everything they got and then some. But even then, it would have been nice for the penalties to be more "actually effective in increasing competition in PC desktop operating systems" and less "suspiciously convenient transfer of large sums of money."
The alternative (where they are considered a bad actor before they were) seems a lot worse ;-)
I think EU might even have cut them a good slack here based on their previous status as good guys.
> and less "suspiciously convenient transfer of large sums of money."
In a EU perspective I think we'll find this doesn't matter much to them.
By creating an incentive for Google (and other corporations) not to do it again.
I am really glad that EU did this, been waiting years for this to happen. Other fines will surly come. You can’t eat and kill your competition too long before someone starts to sett the records straight.
A happy day for us consumers!
Contrary to numerous posts-
-no, the law isn't "clear". This is an incredibly nuanced situation, and the notion that Google was just overtly flouting (ed: thx sjcsjc) the law is outright nonsense. Google has a huge litany of bad practices (I personally recently switched my daily driver to an iPhone for that reason), but simply saying "Surprise....enormous fine" is ridiculous.
-the fine is enormous. Various "well it's only a quarter's earnings across all of Google" are outrageous. Over 6 years Google spent a grand total of $1.1B in all expenses for Waymo, for instance. $5B is an enormous, enormous amount of money for any company.
I highly doubt this will be a "pay it and forget it" fine, but is going to ring across all multinationals as a warning.
>Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market in so far as it may affect trade between Member States.
>Such abuse may, in particular, consist in:
>b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers
>d)making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts
Ok, so, Google said "You can't use Google Play unless you force users to have Google Search installed".
How is that not clearly breaching d?
Then they said "You can't use Google Play if you try to help develop any android forks."
How is that not clearly breaching b?
>but simply saying "Surprise....enormous fine" is ridiculous
They've had at least two years notice, so could have reduced their fine by complying when they were first warned. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1492_en.htm The article literally warns about the exact things they're still doing.
They're a part of the same suite of apps that provide the "Android experience" (Google experience, whatever -- the thing that most consumers think of when they consider Android). They manifestly have a profound connection with each other.
And let's be clear here lest there be any confusion -- zero customers want a vendor to do anything different, and the only reason some vendors wanted to is because they could double dip: Pitch the Android experience and get the market inroads, while getting some Bing or whatever payola to "force" that on a consumer.
The same is true of the other claim-
Google's argument, whether honest or not, is that if you need a consistent representation of the Android experience that you're selling to consumers. If the GS8 has the full Android experience, but then the GS8P has the Android Fun Store and Bing Search, this can seriously dilute the market opinion of Android and cause consumer confusion.
This is absolutely not at all clear cut. It is incredibly nuanced. And if we just go around clubbing everything coarsely, why does my BMW have a BMW entertainment system? Why couldn't I choose Alpine at the dealer? An entertainment system is not an engine, right? I don't want to go down the road of absurd analogies, but if you're seriously presenting the notion that this is clear cut, you are not really thinking about it much.
As an aside, Google has had the same policies regard their suite of apps since day 1 of Android. Since the very beginning. When iOS absolutely dwarfed it. When Blackberry reigned supreme. When I was hefting around my sad little HTC Dream and listening to the John Gruber's tell us how doomed it was.
The thing they were fined for was
>[Google] has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store);
How is the Play Store related to the Google Seach app or to Chrome? One is an app store, one is a seach bar and one is a browser. They have nothing in common and don't interact in any meaningful way (except perhaps the interaction between the Google Seach app and Chrome, but that relation isn't part of the ruling).
This is clearly Google using the dominance of the Play store to push other, completely unrelated apps.
>zero customers want a vendor to do anything different
The first thing I do with a new phone is to try to get rid of that google search bar on the home screen (I open a browser to seach the web ...), I don't use mobile chrome, and I prefer rooted CyanogenMod / LineageOS over stock Android. So I am clearly impacted by all three offenses Google was fined for. I suspect I am not the only one.
- They're not, and the attempt to claim they are part of a mobile "suite" is the same sort of obfuscation Microsoft used when they argued a web browser (IE) was an essential part of a desktop OS. This ruling seems obvious to me.
How is a web browser not an essential part of a desktop OS.
Literally every single consumer operating system comes bundled with a web browser, and in fact everyone bundles their own
That's so 1997. I would argue that a desktop OS isn't essential to my web browser. All I want my phone or my desktop computer for is to browse the web (not me but that's true for the vast majority of people). All this nonsense that comes with the OS is peripheral. Not essential. The only thing my phone or desktop needs to do is turn on, connect to the web, and download facebook.com and any other website I want. That's it. That's essential. Network card: essential. Web browser: essential. Any so-called computer without a network card is as good as a brick to me.
The idea of a Web Browser being "essential" to an OS is to mean that the OS itself would not be complete without this specific browser, which is in fact not true. Whatever combination of OS + browser you elect to use, or of you eschew the common OS parts in favor of it being entirely browser based is your choice.
That is the contention when Google, and also when Microsoft, try to claim that their respective browsers are essential to their OSes. (Before anyone tries to call me out, yes, Apple is just as silly with iOS, but at least they attempt to have some very fragile ground to stand on regarding performance)
So the argument isn't that a web browser isn't essential to modern day computing, it's that the OS itself does not need a built in one to be complete, or any specific browser to realize its goal of being an OS.
MS argued that the specific web browser IE was essential and I think that's the type of argument that is problematic, both for MS and Google
Internet Explorer and the Windows shell were the same code. There's a reason why until this day the Windows shell is `explorer.exe` - it and `iexplore.exe` (IE) were the one and the same. You could open a file explorer to C:\ and then type in `msn.com` in the address bar, and the PC wouldn't blink.
The short answer, at the time anyways, was that you could just delete it to no consequence. It was just another program.
Some of the phones do "need" a browser as they provide it as a feature to apps, so things are a bit murkier now.
And there's the WebView component, that's part of the SDK, that's essential, and it can be a dependency, or it can be bundled into the APK. (There's even https://crosswalk-project.org/ that is basically new WebView for old phones - Chromium built for old phones.)
But of course to an Android buyer, it is all a part of the experience with the device. They know what to expect and what is there.
"he same sort of obfuscation Microsoft used when they argued a web browser"
And Microsoft was right. Windows has Explorer or Edge. It still does. The EU giant fine did absolutely nothing but made them realize that cashing in big on American companies is essentially free. Of course I still download Firefox, just as you can do on Android.
The problem is that by not giving the choice makes this anti-competitive behaviour. What’s wrong with giving Samsung the ability to make a deal with Yahoo to install Yahoo as the default in their Android phones?
If they claim it’s all part of their integrated experience, then they should provide the necessary APIs/SDKs for other search providers to integrate properly.
We’ve been over this before, it’s anti-competitive behaviour, and it lacks choice.
Only if the device is advertised as being an Android, which is a trademark that you cannot use without Google’s agreement. You can’t use anything Google related actually, besides AOSP, so I don’t see how Google can make that argument with a straight face.
And on Microsoft... they could easily block any competition just like Apple is doing on iOS. That you are able to install Firefox on it, be thankful to previous antitrust fines they got ;-)
“Related to” does not mean that they are the literally same thing. They are clearly related as a suite of applications which form the core experience of what is called “Android”.
The law doesn’t say that if it is technically possible to unbundle a set of options from a product offering to be sold al la carte that companies must do that.
These are all essential components of one product — a mobile OS. Mixing and matching, for the vast majority of users, is neither practical or expected, and absolutely negatively impacts the brand.
Microsoft should be delighted then that they can force Internet Explorer on everyone again.
> They are clearly related as a suite of applications which form the core experience of what is called “Android”.
That argument doesn't hold for Chrome. The core experience of Android is the AOSP browser (aka Android Browser). Later Google started to use their monopoly to force the inclusion of Chrome alongside Android Browser, followed by the removal of Android Browser in Android 4.4.
And even now, the only reason Chrome is part of the "core android experience" is because Google pushes hard to make it that way. There are plenty of other good mobile browsers.
>These are all essential components of one product — a mobile OS
But Google doesn't licence the OS. They donated the OS to Open Source, and use their licencing agreement for the App store to control unrelated parts of the OS experience
Microsoft does force Internet Explorer cum Edge on everyone. They never stopped. When the EU forced them to offer a trivial "justify a giant fine" selection tool it did essentially nothing in regards to browser share. It keeps getting cited as the precedent, and while it is in the "EU makes some fat bank" way, it did absolutely nothing for consumers. And that's for an OS that was tremendously more entrenched, whereas I recently swapped out my GS8 for an iPhone 8 with nary a hiccup (and as an aside still enjoy all those Google services).
There is so much bullshit happening throughout this discussion.
Elsewhere people are claiming that Chrome became popular because Google pushed it on their homepage, which is just ridiculous, revisionist nonsense. Chrome became popular because it earned word of mouth as a lighter, faster browser. It exploded. The same happened with Firefox. Because the platform was open and allowed you to choose whatever you want to run. Just as I can and do run Firefox on Android.
Further, vendors/carriers only abuse the right to put in alternatives. It is traditionally called crapware.
As is your version of events. As with all extreme points of view, the truth lies somewhere towards the middle.
I'm using Android every day and never once opened Chrome (instead I'm using the Lightning browser) or used the Google app to search (I'm just searching directly in my browser). So IMHO that's definitely NOT the core experience of Android, while the Play Store is.
Of course, saying it's a part of the Android/Google Experience is from the average consumer. You know that you have the Chrome browser if you so choose. Yes, you can go to the Play Store and install Firefox. Unlike on iOS where the browser alternatives are facades.
(Im a Googler, but that's not particularly relevant to this comment)
Also, you could actually uninstall IE. That only uninstalled the shell, not the libraries (as there were dependencies) but it was gone in terms of the application.
The home screen icon is one of those hooks but by far not the only one. If I hide it or never press it, that implies exactly nothing about whether or not code from the app gets executed while I use the phone.
I know ecosystems make corporations a lot of money and some people prefer them. And they can choose an iPhone or Pixel.
Firefox has over a 100 million downloads according to the Play Store, so that argument at least doesn't work for bundling Chrome.
Well then, that's your choice, and with that you admit to belong to some 0.0001% of Android users who are willing to open up their phones to all kinds of security exploits, and reduce its value to some laughable percentile, as is known, with CyanogenMod / LineageOS most of the good part go to hell, camera goes to hell, performance goes, ... and you get what? Glowing aura of open source user
All that goes to hell because Google prevents almost all first party support for LinageOS (or any other forks), which is why Google gets fined now. In a theoretical world where Google didn't do the things they are fined for, LineageOS might work much better on a wider range of hardware and thus have much more mainstream appeal.
Because BMW don't have market dominance in either the car industry or the entertainment system industry. If they used dominance in one to affect the other, they would be in breach of that legislation.
>This is absolutely not at all clear cut. It is incredibly nuanced
So how do you explain Google's non-compliance when explicitly and clearly informed that they were in breach over two years ago?
If, for example, BMW _did_ become an extremely successful car manufacturer to the point where they were capturing >80% of the market, would they suddenly no longer be allowed to bundle their own entertainment system with their cars?
Of course the size of the company and the market dominance comes into play here. It's not a monopoly if people can go elsewhere to get their engines, it is if there is only one realistic choice of supplier (Android).
Yes, that's exactly what monopoly abuse laws are for.
Fire OS and my personal phone which is running a Google-free version of LineageOS would like to have a word.
> And if we just go around clubbing everything coarsely, why does my BMW have a BMW entertainment system?
BMW doesn't have a dominant market position it could abuse. Neither does Apple or any other company that Google is commonly compared to in these discussions.
Somehow these false-equivalences seem to be most common among people trying to push the "unfair fine" narrative.
On top of that you claim that because there are other companies/products that are in breach of the law - at least according to your misreading of it - this somehow makes the word of the law less clear cut in this case. Which just doesn't make any sense.
Let me throw your own words back at you: "you are not really thinking about it [your arguments] much."
Hilariously, you just made the parent's point for them - you yourself said you aren't running Android but Fire OS or LineageOS. Android, the product, comes with Chrome, Google Search, and the Google Play Store. If you want Android, you have to take all of Android. If you want to run something else, go for it, but then it isn't Android.
Android is a separate software project that is developed separately from Google Play Services. The Android OS works perfectly without those installed.
There's no "Chrome, Google Search, and the Google Play Store" in the Android repository. Especially since Android is open source, and most of the latter APKs are not.
I suggest to actually have a look at the a android project before making claims like these. This page is a good place to start: https://source.android.com/setup/
The Play Store is the one and only problem as the replacements are nowhere near close in functionality or popularity.
Google has worked very hard to integrate their app suite at such a deep level with Android to the point that they can steer what can be done with the OS just by using that one lever.
Anyone paying attention in the past decade will remember plenty of complaints about the GApps infesting Android.
But yes, if just looks at the situation as it is today, they could be excused for thinking that everything is normal.
I don't really mind about the Google Play Services thing (as it probably benefited people overall), but the contracts with OEM's were always wack, and I'm pretty happy that the EU has (eventually) fined them for this literally textbook anti-EU competition law behaviour.
BMW is not forcing BMW to install a BMW entertainment system.
BMW can install whatever entertainment system BMW likes.
Google is forcing other phone makers to install certain Google apps. The issue is not with what Google does for their own products, but what they force other phone makers to do. That is the key point—this ruling wouldn't (or shouldn't) apply to Google's own Pixel products.
Now if Bosch was forcing BMW to install Bosch windscreen wipers as a requirement on any car with Bosch collision avoidance systems, there you might have a valid analogy.
Google also claimed that this ruling would hurt open source projects in favor of “proprietary platforms”, but everything that provides the “Android experience” - Google Play Services and the binary drivers - are closed sourced.
It is incredible seeing Google being seriously attacked on here for have an open source path as well. I feel like this is some sort of alternative universe.
This is incredibly (deliberately?) misrepresentative. They are being punished for having a monopoly and (ab)using that. If Apple/iPhone had an 80% market share in EU the commission would be gunning for them instead, e.g. because of their closed ecosystem preventing competition.
And this deal was approved by the EU and it specifically grants a monopoly to Airbus for European rocket manufacturing and launch.
The point is that the EU doesn’t care that much about monopolies— they care that much about American tech monopolies. It’s economic populism. I am not saying anything about the merits of the Android case, only pointing out that the EU doesn’t pursue EU companies with as much vigor. €5 billion is a significant payday for the EU — especially when that money comes from an American company.
Further, if Apple were to decide, tomorrow, to release iOS as open source, would they also be in violation of the law (possibly depending on their motivation?)
The law often hinges on intent along with action, that's hardly novel.
Exactly. The takeaway from this seems to be to not open up your system a little bit, because then you'll need to go all the way. Whereas e.g. Apple, which built a completely closed phone system from the start, doesn't get any trouble (even when it dominated the smartphone market). Really backwards ruling. And I say this as someone who happily switched to an iPhone to escape Google's data collection.
"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere," Ms Vestager said.
It's not because Google has open sourced Android (which they _had_ to because of the GPL used by Linux). The fine is for protecting their own marker by blocking others from using that open source software.
I suspect that when a lawyer uses "essential and inseparable" they do not mean the same thing a technologist would mean. The GPL itself doesn't use that language, and anyway it's trivial to argue that a full OS distro isn't "based on" (the language of the GPL) the kernel itself.
Because BMW has not entered an abusive relationship with a dominant player in the car entertainment system market who would only license the popular system to BMW on the condition that 1) BMW won't develop their own version, and 2) will bundle other software packages also developed by the dominant player.
BMW is the manufacturer, not a licensor, so it's a slightly different scenario, but let's say that dealers are somewhat equivalent to manufacturers. You raise a good question or two:
1. Does BMW forbid dealers from replacing the factory entertainment system with an Alpine system? Or do they just assume nobody will, since it's already bundled in the car?
2. What is BMW's share of the automobile market? (i.e. how close to a monopoly are they?)
Offering the open source Gallery app is the "Android experience". Offering Google Photos is not the Android experience, but the "Google experience". It's different.
> zero customers want a vendor to do anything different
Citation needed. I mean I don't want the vendors to add bloatware to a smartphone, just like I don't want Google to add bloatware (like the search bar or the News app). But that doesn't mean I wouldn't like actually innovative features. And even if I as a "stock Android" fan, that doesn't mean everyone is.
I can already see headlines bashing the EU though.
- Google had an operating income of 32.9 billion in 2017 . $5B fine for anti-trust practices is 15.2% (5 / 32.9) of that.
- HSBC had an operating income of 63.8 billion in 2017 . In 2017, HSBC suffered a $1.9B fine for _willfully_ relaxing it's anti-money laundering filters in order to profit from the illegal drug industry, regimes that are embargoed, and entities or individuals who are suspected of financing terrorism . That's a 1.9 / 63.8 = 0.29% fine for helping finance murderers.
That puts the Google fine into perspective, but it probably says more about the HSBC case than it does about Google's.
It should be noted that HSBC broke a deal to avoid prosecution, thanks to then Attorney General Eric Holder who overruled prosecutors' recommendation to pursue criminal charges. As part of the deal, HSBC confessed to above allegations, which was just a theory at the time.
EU treaty article 102 is about as clear as it gets. Google even had precedence to look at. And finally, they were warned by the EU commission more than 2 years ago but chose not to comply. This is a company with hundreds of lawyers on staff, and with the best law firms on retainer.
The fine is huge, but it's a small fraction of their revenue. This fine is measured based on guidelines that have been the same for more than a decade: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:52...
I'm not sure how that's a bad thing.
Don't think trade wars applies. The reasons were given and I think they are correct. Personally I'm glad that the EU has the power to (at least a bit) influence such huge corporations.
They did. Google didn't comply.
They are just sour that their precious tech companies are being brought to task for behaving like shitty house guests by not following the rules.
These companies might be able to get away with whatever the hell they please back home but get this; the American Way isn't the only way.
It's just a very shitty dismissal of the very real concerns of US tech companies and their disregard for the laws and regulations in the countries in which they operate. Laws and regulations that EU companies have to follow too.
The only real upset here comes from companies like Google, and their rabid supporters at the prospect of them not being able to implement their shitty consumer-hostile, ring-fencing business model in other countries.
Google were given two year's notice before this fine. TWO YEARS.
It's their own damn fault and the fine is punitive, as it should be.
American multinational tech companies suck a ridiculous amount of money from the rest of the world.
The US would rarely do anything to harm their corporations. The latest govt is literally “A govt for corporations, by corporations”.
My guess is that Google considers itself American.
and that absence of loyalty is reciprocated. Google isn't doing me any favors.
if Google disappeared tomorrow someone else would step into replace them. and i wouldn't care if they headquartered in Buffalo or Barcelona or Beijing.
The case started in 2015. So Google had enough time to appeal and provide info to regulators. So, it wasn't a surprise. Yes the law might not be clear but I think the deliberations took time because of the same reason. If laws were clearer Google fines might have happened back in 2015.
Why? It's meant to be a meaningful penalty that shareholders will feel in their pockets. If fines are just a small cost of doing business, all the evidence is that firms shrug and pay them, because the producer surplus they reap is usually much larger than the fine.
I think that this is already a counter-attack of "dieselgate".
If google starts to charge for android then i am sure there will be manufactures selling phone without OS. I would be 100% up for it.
That Android would be free if you replaced the non-free parts by free ones is obvious and does not make it actually free.
> Also many people buy windows license separate from their device. Google surely does not want situation where people buy google services license... they want mass adoption for data collection.
> If google starts to charge for android then i am sure there will be manufactures selling phone without OS.
None of this matters for the question at hand which is if Android is free.
At 2018, talking about yet another Mobile OS beyond Android/iOS is just pure nonsensical fantasy. The game is over, if Google going to charge Android, the manufacturers will not be happy, but they will pay and pass the cost to consumers.
Well , judges had a look and decided it was
Thats funny you think Apple doesnt have bad practices... They are seemingly the worst when it comes to IP and giving customers and developers what they want.
actually, 2017 google made $110B so its not 1/4 but 1/22 of their profits last year.. enormous? meh.