EU Android latest: Critics diss Google's money-spinning 'cure'

You shouldn't profit from punishment

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The lawyer leading the complaints against Alphabet in the EU Android case doesn’t sound impressed by giant ad-slinger’s proposed remedy. Not one bit.

While appealing the verdict, Google has also proposed separating its Android bundle into two parts, charging for the part that includes the Play app store.

And this is the bit that vexes Thomas Vinje, the Clifford Chance lawyer and the legal counsel and spokesperson for FairSearch, a group representing Google’s critics.

Since access to a broad range of apps is vital to making a competitive phone - see the fate of Windows Phone and BB10 - and no other App Store has Google’s depth, phone-makers view involvement with the Google Play Store as mandatory

“By tying the remainder of these apps to the Play store, Google is still leveraging the Play store’s dominance into the market for those other apps,” Vinje wrote in a blog post. “This directly goes against the aim of the decision - to ensure that consumers are exposed to a wider variety of apps which compete with Google’s.  In addition, the remedy is unlikely to put an end to Google’s access to data generated by using apps.”

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The latter refers to the fact that researchers have found that over 88.4 per cent of Android apps studied transmit data back to the Google mothership (pdf). Not so surprising as Google is built around an advertising machine, and this machine helps app developers monetise their apps.

Vinje also noted that this remedy proposal, like the “auction” remedy Google proposed in response to a complaint about vertical search - creates a new revenue stream for Google.

A leaked schedule of prices indicates that Google wants as much as $40 per device for flagships. This would be offset if phone-makers then agreed to bundle the “free” portion of the bundle - that includes Google Search.

“Further enforcement action may be necessary to end Google’s leveraging of its mobile dominance to increase its data hegemony,” Vinje first suggested back in July. He’s likely to raise the volume of that request now.

We contacted Google for comment.®


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