UK's BT publicly supports Google, fears Apple dominance, in EU Android antitrust case

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in iPhone
Google has received some support in's ongoing Android antitrust case with the European Commission from British Telecom, with the U.K. communications giant allegedly getting involved to help prevent Apple from becoming too dominant in the smartphone market.




A letter sent from BT's lawyers to the European Commission is believed by The Telegraph to reject charges laid against Google, charges suggesting the search giant is abusing its position at the top of the Android ecosystem to purposefully hinder competition from rival software producers and services.

Filed last year, the charges relate to Google's requirement for Android device producers and carriers to preload Google Search and Chrome onto hardware, if they want to use other essential Google products on the device, such as Maps or the Google Play Store. Manufacturers are also pressured to set Google as the default search, and is even offering financial incentives to participate in the program.

The European Commission believes this activity is anticompetitive, stifling competition by effectively preventing rival app stores from being used. The Commission also had issue with "anti-fragmentation agreements" that prevent device producers from creating their own "fork" of Android itself, with the agreements making it harder for users of forked Android devices to access Google's other services.

A BT spokesperson confirmed the telecoms company's legal team had written to the European Commission about the investigation, advising "We told them BT is free to pre-install its own or third-party apps on devices alongside pre-loaded Google apps."

"We also said that, as an app provider, we value the ongoing stability and compatibility of operating systems, whether they are 'open source' or 'closed source.' This is why we welcome anti-fragmentation initiatives such as Google's."

While the content of the letter is largely unknown, report sources claim BT intervened in order to keep Apple from gaining a major advantage, if the European Union took action to weaken Android in some way. Apple is considered to be a major force in the U.K. telecommunications industry, with the popularity of the iPhone enabling Apple to dictate more favorable terms with carriers.

While known for landlines and managing the telecommunications infrastructure of most of the U.K., BT does have an interest in proceedings, as it does own EE and so may want to prevent Apple from getting into a stronger negotiation position.

The Commission has the capability to fine Google up to 10 percent of its annual global revenue for each antitrust charge, which could potentially cost the search company billions. A separate investigation by the Commission over Google's search dominance, dealing with how it prioritizes the top of search results with its own services, is also ongoing.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    Greetings.  I had thought that it was Android and the cheap smartphones makers who so dominated the global and European Smartphone market based upon sheer numbers and market penetration.  Apple is indeed the most profitable smartphone maker, but it can be successfully argued that it is not the 'largest' or even the 'most dominant' either.  
    rob53lito_lupenaavon b7StrangeDaysbrakkennetroxtmaycornchipchiajahblade
  • Reply 2 of 27
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 342member
    While google steals every bit of information about each one if its users and sells it to the highest bidder.
    magman1979rob53lito_lupenacalitmaycornchiplostkiwiNotsofastpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 27
    Translation:

    "We don't care about what's right and wrong. We just don't want Side A to win, so please let side B commit whatever crimes they want so they can win. that way, we can have more contract leverage."

    Ridiculous.
    magman1979radarthekatStrangeDayscalicornchiplostkiwijahbladewatto_cobra[Deleted User]stompy
  • Reply 4 of 27

    jdgaz said:
    While google steals every bit of information about each one if its users and sells it to the highest bidder.
    Apparently, such slimy measures are going so well, even Vizio has gotten in on the action.

    A 2.2 mil slap on the wrist and they continue on...
    lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 27
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    Sounds like the folks at BT didn't hear about Brexit. 

    I don't think the EC is going to be caring too much about input from Britain. 
    lito_lupenalostkiwifracchiaRayz2016tundraboywatto_cobra[Deleted User]paxman
  • Reply 6 of 27
    "Filed last year, the charges relate to Google's requirement for Android device producers and carriers to preload Google Search and Chrome onto hardware, if they want to use other essential Google products on the device, such as Maps or the Google Play Store. Manufacturers are also pressured to set Google as the default search, and is even offering financial incentives to participate in the program."

    This is the part the BT letter does not address since BT is not a device producer. I hope the EU Commission does not miss this very important fact.

    Samsung, HTC, LG, etc. are hostages to Google's Android whims. If the producers want access to the Play Store, the producers must adhere to installing the growing list of Google software. This requirement does stifle competition between Android device producers.

    Bringing Apple into this fight is solely to distract from the true reason the EU Commission is suing Google. Google claims Android OS is open for device producers to design and develop it as they want, but disallows the producers from having apps on the Play Store unless the producers preload Google's software on their devices.

    The fight is about Google's stranglehold on Android device producers not about Apple.
    calicornchipwatto_cobrajbdragonjensonb
  • Reply 7 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,067member
    "Filed last year, the charges relate to Google's requirement for Android device producers and carriers to preload Google Search and Chrome onto hardware, if they want to use other essential Google products on the device, such as Maps or the Google Play Store. Manufacturers are also pressured to set Google as the default search, and is even offering financial incentives to participate in the program."

    This is the part the BT letter does not address since BT is not a device producer. I hope the EU Commission does not miss this very important fact.

    Samsung, HTC, LG, etc. are hostages to Google's Android whims. If the producers want access to the Play Store, the producers must adhere to installing the growing list of Google software. This requirement does stifle competition between Android device producers.

    Bringing Apple into this fight is solely to distract from the true reason the EU Commission is suing Google. Google claims Android OS is open for device producers to design and develop it as they want, but disallows the producers from having apps on the Play Store unless the producers preload Google's software on their devices.

    The fight is about Google's stranglehold on Android device producers not about Apple.
    Samsung does and has installed it's own apps instead of Google's. They've also partnered with Microsoft to preinstall One Drive. Motorola has shipped Google Android phones with Bing preinstalled.  HTC has released a new smartphone with Alexa for voice search.  Stranglehold? That's certainly not what the AI article claims. Google may apply pressure or offer financial considerations to do so but it doesn't look like Android licensees are banned from shipping phones with competitors applications running on them. 

    BTW the claim that British Telecom is doing this to thwart Apple is attributed to anonymous sources. As others here often note anonymous sources may not be reliable, accurate or even know anything factual about it in the first place. Might be true or might not be so another day and another unsupported rumor.

    I am more than a tad surprised the EU doesn't consider Apple and iOS to be competitive with Android. I doubt many here would agree they aren't. 
    edited February 2017
  • Reply 8 of 27
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,454member
    sog35 said:
    What kind of bullshit is this?

    Android/Google has 80% marketshare and they are worrying about Apple getting to big? WTF


    That is because BT can not negotiate with Apple since Apple has a direct relationship with consumers and BT does not like this. They rather have suppliers who relay on BT having the relationship BT. BT is like VZ in the US, they only care about themselves and screw the customer along the way. This is why VZ turned down the Apple deal until they began loosing customers and they had no choice.

    This has nothing to do with market share it has all to do who control the relationship with the customer and Apple has the best relationship with its customers no other cell phone company can say the same thing.

    brakkentmaycornchipcalipropodwatto_cobra[Deleted User]paxmanstompy
  • Reply 9 of 27
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,454member

    Folks this is not about hardware, this is the same issue Microsoft ran into, there were lots of companies who made hardware which ran windows, but all those companies were required to load windows and then MS made it so that you could not replace MS based programs with competitors product like IE being replace with Netscape. Google has done the same thing. They are forcing people into their ecosystem without chooses. You could argue Apple does the same thing, but they make the hardware and software so they are allow to do that, but they also allow competing apps to most of their apps, there are a few exception but there are no competitors in those spaces yet or Apple can claim security as the reason not to allow others in.

    Google most likely will have to do what Apple does and allow people to delete all the preinstalled Google apps with ones from third parties. This is why Apple now allows you to remove apple installed apps to be removed. It is just bringing more light on the Google situation. Remember is Android users are not using Google apps then Google is not making money on a OS they give away free.

    propodwatto_cobrajensonb
  • Reply 10 of 27
    In other news, BT has just announced an on-going and profitable deal for free advertising on Google's search pages and its expansive Android platform. Although the plan was attacked by consumer protection groups, citing prior convictions of Google deliberately altering search results to help its own business interests at the expense of competitors, both BT and Goog reps have expressed glee at the new deal.
    cornchipcalipropodwatto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Reply 11 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,743member
    If it's not going to be publicly held then BT should have been fragmented years ago.  They're all kinds of shady.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 27
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,649member
    BT: we support googles because we can install our shitty apps on Android phones. 
    propodwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 27
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,609member
    Well yes, the commission will entertain British Telecom's letter in support of Google right after they iron out the terms of the UK's exit from the EU.  Honestly, are BT executives totally incapable of sensing the temper of the times?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 27
    croprcropr Posts: 905member
    Greetings.  I had thought that it was Android and the cheap smartphones makers who so dominated the global and European Smartphone market based upon sheer numbers and market penetration.  Apple is indeed the most profitable smartphone maker, but it can be successfully argued that it is not the 'largest' or even the 'most dominant' either. 
    But in the UK the iPhone does have a much higher market share than in the rest of the EU.  Around 40% if I am not mistaken
  • Reply 15 of 27
    If Android becomes even more fragmented down to even app store level installed on device, it will just push more people to iOS, making it dominant in UK. 

    Will EU then demand Apple allow other device manufacturers to build Apple devices?
  • Reply 16 of 27
    saltyzip said:
    If Android becomes even more fragmented down to even app store level installed on device, it will just push more people to iOS, making it dominant in UK. 

    Will EU then demand Apple allow other device manufacturers to build Apple devices?
    Think of Google like a mall owner and the OEMs build the shops inside it, instead of just letting them pay the mall fees (android license) and opening their stores (build and sell phones), they tell them they must stock certain brands and items (google apps), they must make the shop look and operate in a certain way etc. IF they want to be in this mall.

    Apple on the other hand has it's own mall (iOS) and the single store inside (iphone) is also theirs. It can then decide what it sells within that store (appstore).

    The only thing the EU could possibly look at Apple for imho is pre-installed apps if and when Apple become the dominant market leader, but it would be a harder one to argue than Microsoft's IE case.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    I think BT has reason to fear, in UK Apple holds nearby half of the market. And they probably know well Apple strength, security, integration, quality that rich nations value. Google want to come closer to Apple model but it is breaking fundamentals upon of platform was build by them.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    cropr said:
    Greetings.  I had thought that it was Android and the cheap smartphones makers who so dominated the global and European Smartphone market based upon sheer numbers and market penetration.  Apple is indeed the most profitable smartphone maker, but it can be successfully argued that it is not the 'largest' or even the 'most dominant' either. 
    But in the UK the iPhone does have a much higher market share than in the rest of the EU.  Around 40% if I am not mistaken
    But how was this market share acquired... through having the better product and platform. Lets not forget Blackberry was the dominate (some say only) "smartphone" before the iPhone but where was the antitrust cases then?
  • Reply 19 of 27
    saltyzip said:
    If Android becomes even more fragmented down to even app store level installed on device, it will just push more people to iOS, making it dominant in UK. 

    Will EU then demand Apple allow other device manufacturers to build Apple devices?
    If apple became dominant then the EU could well demand the opening up of iOS to other apps stores. You only have to look at the explorer ruling to see that.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,067member
    adm1 said:
    saltyzip said:
    If Android becomes even more fragmented down to even app store level installed on device, it will just push more people to iOS, making it dominant in UK. 

    Will EU then demand Apple allow other device manufacturers to build Apple devices?
    Think of Google like a mall owner and the OEMs build the shops inside it, instead of just letting them pay the mall fees and opening their stores (build and sell phones), they tell them they must stock certain brands and items (google apps), they must make the shop look and operate in a certain way etc. IF they want to be in this mall.
    ...and any smartphone manufacturers can use the free Android Construction Company to build their own mall if they don't like or want Google's. To be in Google's mall there are fees just as you mentioned. You just didn't realize what you were actually saying. The license from Google tells them what those fees are just like in real mall-life retailing. They can still put their own stock on the shelves and they do. 
    edited February 2017
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