The United States Federal Trade Commission is looking into Google’s increasing dominance in their own market service – Google Play Store.
This time it is Android under antitrust investigation. The inquiry is aiming at finding whether third party app developers are given the possibility of having the same amount of exposure to Android as Google apps do. The Justice Department already granted permission to the United States Federal Trade Commission to lead the investigation.
The question is simple: is Google giving its products an unfair advantage over other apps made by different developers?
Android is used in 59% of the smartphones from the United States, according to reports. The Android operating system is somehow to resemble a monopoly, particularly when we are talking about apps. Think about it, every device that uses Android comes with Google Play Store pre-installed, which is supplying every Android smartphone with apps.
Google also pre-installs their most popular services on every Android device, such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Chrome, and many other services, but some could argue that the company is doing this for user convenience and that this is their right, considering that the company is producing the Android operating system. However, it is beyond doubt that Google is benefiting greatly from this move.
The Android app market has only two worthy competitors, one of them is Apple’s App Store, but the market is only overing the iPhone and iPad line of devices, while the other, Microsoft’s app store, remains relatively unsuccessful as it only caters Nokia phones, and more recently, phones branded as Microsoft.
The investigation will be more formal than some might expect though. The authorities will do some basic checks and the issue might be resolved without going to court.
Although Google’s situation in the United States is relatively great, the company’s legal issue in Europe is undergoing some serious investigation from the European Union federal authorities. The EU has started following Google’s Android platform ever since they received a bunch of complaints from a group that represented Microsoft, Nokia and Expedia.
Rumors say that the United States Federal Trade Commission and the European Union may no be cooperate in this investigation.
Android has its origins in a camera software that Google bought back in 2005, which was redesigned to become a smartphone operating system. When it was first released in 2008 as a beta, Android contained only a set of basic apps, such as Camera, Pictures, Messaging, Music, Clock, and Calculator.
Photo credits: Wikimedia