Re: Forced to Install Apps
Android has 80% market share, Apple have the rest. Not much choice out there is there? And both Apple and Google are using their positions to make it commercially unrealistic for anyone else to evolve a competing ecosystem.
Apple have a monopoly when it comes to making money from hardware, app, and music sales. And no, Apple's exact same practises (they're not by the way) aren't acceptable either.
Google have an effective monopoly on data generated from people's use of online services, and they bend over backwards to maintain and expand that.
What I don't understand is how a country like the USA managed to spot the monopoly of an oil company called Standard Oil and break it up, likewise with a telephone company, and yet hasn't worked out that Google in particular are effectively in the same monopolistic position. Probably because they have managed to arrange things so that this impacts ordinary Americans only indirectly, so it's "free". However it's not free. Fundamental rule of advertising: the consumer is paying for it.
Effectively their approach is something like "that's a nice restaurant, want anyone to ever hear about it? Yes? Just sign here. Not signing? Well don't expect this place to show up in any of our search results". Result? That restaurant has to put its prices up, and Google's pockets are filled with cash. Do that to every business on the planet and it soon mounts up to a vast sum of cash.
Then they come back: "Tricky to find this place on a map. Want this place to show up on our maps service?".
And with Android it's an all or nothing thing. "Want your phone's customers to be able to install some apps? Well you're gonna have to accept our search being default, our maps being default, 'coz all those apps need this thing called Google Play Services, which isn't free". Only the Chinese have successfully managed to take Android and re-make it in their own image, with Google effectively shut out of that market (and of course the local incumbent has done pretty much the same thing as Google...).
Google in particular are very vulnerable to losing big chunks of business. Governments always have the nuclear option; blocking access to Google's internet domains. Google's current direction may lead some places to think that they've nothing to lose by pressing that button. And it wouldn't take long for some local alternatives to spring up. Remote chance this may be, Google's board would have a lot of explaining to do if it ever happened (they're already being sued by their own shareholders over their dispute with the EU). Hint to the board: if you're shareholders are suing, that might mean you've got the company strategy badly wrong.
And on the topic of Google's services, actually they're pretty rubbish. Their search in particular is now pretty useless for actually finding specific stuff. Instead you get a pile of useless ads for things their crummy AI think you're interested in, but rarely do I find the actual information I'm after. Gmail, maps, docs and all other web apps are appalling to use ("Wanna move this pseudo dialog box? Tough, can't, shan't"). Docs and Gmail in particular is annoying (according to people I know who're stuck with it because of their misguided company policy). They keep changing things, and you have to learn where they've gone and put stuff today. Stability may be boring, but it lets people get the job done.