EU Carpet Bombs Google With Antitrust Charges, Vows To Investigate Android

It’s hardly been a secret that Google is the European Union’s doghouse, but now the hostility is official. The EU delivered Google with a Statement of Objections that accuses it of skewing search results towards the company’s own services. To top things off, the EU is looking into accusations that Android, Google’s smartphone operating system, also violates antitrust rules.

“In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules,” said EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a statement. “Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.”

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Image credit: European Union

The charges revolve around Google Shopping, which lets users search for products and compare prices from vendors. The EU’s stance is that Google seems to favor Google Shopping when it appears in search results, in part by “showing Google Shopping more prominently on the screen.”

Android is getting the EU’s attention because Google’s products are so widespread. “I have also launched a formal antitrust investigation of Google’s conduct concerning mobile operating system, apps and services,” Vestager said in the statement. “Smartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasing role in many people’s daily lives and I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anticompetitive constraints imposed by any company.”

The EU isn’t alone in taking issue with Google’s search dominance, though it seems to be the biggest threat to Google at the moment. A large search company in Russia has also leveled antitrust charges against Google and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has also expressed deep reservations about Google’s practices. The FTC chose not to press charges at the conclusion of its investigation, however.