On July 18th, 2018, Google was hit with a fine of $5B by the European Commission over Android Antitrust Abuse. Google is alleged to have pushed the users to its search engine and weakening its competitor search providers and app developers. But considering the consumer opinions and current scenarios, EC should have gone after Apple too.
Why is Google guilty of Android abuse?
Google violated one of the major EU law by making illegal agreements with smartphone development organizations. Thus, they dominated their search and browser apps in the smartphone. European Commission alleged Google of favoring Android and paying the manufacturers to install its apps on all Android devices for a Play Store license. This reduced the ability of other search providers and browser developers to compete in the market. Google licensed its operating system to smartphone manufacturers with the motive of enfeebling its competitors and favoring their own applications.
Why does the same apply to Apple?
Leonid Bershidsky, opinion columnist covering European politics and business said that “If Google is guilty in Android Antitrust Abuse, Apple should also be held to account for a similar violation”. Although an Android user can easily shop in a few alternative stores, an iPhone user cannot go to any other alternative of Apple’s App Store without disabling operating system updates. Earlier, even US Court agreed to hear a case on the dominant position of Apple. This suit was on the behalf of those consumers who were forced to pay commission to Apple for every app’s price.
Apple is a sole seller in the iPhone market and it behaves exactly like one. In Apple’s iPhone, there is no way to delete the browser and even the users are forbidden from going for an alternative app. Google Chrome and other apps are available on iPhone, but they can’t be used for default purposes. You can specifically open these apps, but the default one would be of Apple’s. Google, however, gives it’s user the freedom to choose the desired one.
Along with app dominance, Apple software also provides very rough deals for the users. Unlike Google, it doesn’t even give us the luxury to switch applications if any of the Apple’s app fails. I think it’s even more anticompetitive of Apple that it simply pre-installs own software and hopes that the users will keep it because it’s good enough.
This latest decision of the European Commission is the beginning of boosting the chances of success of the app developers. Others, who do the same, should also be fined or it will seem as a target on a U.S. organization rather than a step of stopping anticompetitive behaviors.
Being a monopoly in the iPhone market, Apple is favoring itself and locking out its competitors. So, the question arises that while kicking US tech giant Google, why haven’t the EU fined Apple too? Well, right now there isn’t any signs of EU going after Apple. However, with the arguments of Leonid Bershidsky and continuous antitrust inspection of Google, it seems that Apple will be in murky waters soon.
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