Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is not new to fights over the way it uses its dominant market position. Over the years, the tech giant has been at loggerheads with authorities over taxes, privacy, and even competition. However, its latest standoff involving Android OS is unique in its own right as it evokes memories of offenses that handed Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) hefty fines in the early 2000’s.
The company’s head of European operations Matt Brittan says the EU officials have it all wrong over the new antitrust allegations involving Android. How true his claims are, is a point of discussion given the way Alphabet requires handset makers to load their devices with its apps.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has already raised concern that Google is taking advantage of consumers by having its apps preinstalled in Android devices. The sentiments echo similar allegations leveled against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the early 2000’s.
The tech giant has always argued that people can remove the apps or even opt to use other apps. The company has gone so far as reiterating that Android is open source. The EU is however not buying into the arguments reiterating that having the apps pre-installed in devices at first, gives it an unfair advantage.
Will History Repeat Itself?
Microsoft was found guilty of abusing its dominant position in 2004 by freezing rival software such as media players and server software on its Windows ecosystem. Hefty fines followed suit and the company was ordered to produce a version of the operating system without any pre-installed apps.
Alphabet strategy on Android is in one way similar to that of Microsoft in the early 2000’s. However, it continues to insist that its applications are not embedded into the operating system for obscure technological reasons.
Unlike Alphabet Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) whose iOS operating system controls 18% market share has never claimed that its OS is open source. The stance could come to bite the search giant, which will have to prove there is nothing wrong with having all Android devices come preinstalled with its own apps.