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The EU’s Android Antitrust Complaints Are Contrived


EARLIER THIS MONTH Google filed its response to the European Commission’s Android antitrust complaint, which alleges that Google thwarts its competitors in search, mobile apps, and mobile devices by limiting their access to Android users through self-serving licensing terms.

But the EC’s objections, rooted in an outdated understanding of marketplace dynamics, are a contrivance. They go like this: ‘Google Search is dominant’… if you exclude Amazon and Facebook from its market. ‘Android enjoys a monopoly’… if you forget about iPhones. ‘Google excludes competing apps on Android’ … if you ignore the ease with which users install alternatives.

In other words, Google in effect controls every significant on-ramp to the mobile Internet, and it uses its position to foreclose competition and forestall innovation. Except it doesn’t. In the broader, messier markets of the real world, the way Google licenses its apps to run on Android has none of the anticompetitive significance the Commission claims.

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