back to article Stroppy Google runs rings round Brussels with Android remedy

Google's artful but risky response to the European Commission highlights the weakness of Brussels' strategy dealing with big Silicon Valley companies. It's fully consistent with Google's previous response, which is to say it goes as close to the line of outright insubordination as it can without actually crossing it. As we …

  1. Matt Ryan

    UK needs the EU

    No rush of comments to show how much value the EU brings to the UK?

    Perhaps you can add one to the effect that the UK would end up with a much worse solution? Not really sure you'll have a compelling argument for that however.

    You could argue that civil servants and politicians in both the UK and EU are equally useless at coming up with workable remedies and I'd agree with that. The issue with them being UK based is we at least have the illusion we can do something about it (vote them out) even if we never do anything other than change from a blue coloured tie/dress to a red one.

    1. Jemma

      Re: UK needs the EU

      We do. Look up the "screwy" strike for one example. Triumph "Innsbruck"

      Or the one where a whole coal mine went on strike cos they didn't like the tea lady. In wartime no less.

      That's what it was like in the UK in the historic times BE (Before EU).

      and companies won't tolerate strikes like Stokes and Edwardes. They'll be out of the country before passport control sees them coming (I'm thinking Asterix, Obelix & a really big menhir dropped onto the booth in passing... or the Japanese management offering Toyota's UK management ceremonial Katana or Tanto as a "broad hint"...)

      You may not like it but if you want a job in the UK any time in the next 20 years that doesn't involve shovelling grandparent poop and listening to interminable stories about "what I did before Abingdon MG shut down & my part in its downfall..." - I'd be begging to stay in; If only because it gives the sub average cretins who'd previously joined a Union as a professional shit stirrer, someone for them to aim their bile at

      1. Matt Ryan

        Re: UK needs the EU

        You can probably thank Thatcher rather than the EU for putting a stop to a lot of the union silliness. Even without the EU, that's not coming back (unless of course Corbyn gets in to perform a transformation from a G7 nation to Venezuela).

        1. Jemma

          Re: UK needs the EU

          You could be right on the Iron Windbag putting the boot into the unions - but then with Foot a KGB contact until 68 and Gorbachev funding the miners strike (or at least offering to) you can kind of see her point.


          Industrial or for that matter any unrest can come back at any time - you just need the same situation to set it off - crappy wages, lack of jobs and lack of productivity was the basis of the 70s/80s strikes - and as for Red Robbo you can find one of him practically on every street - or a right wing version. If the multinationals pull out - 1978 will look like heaven by comparison...

          I honestly don't care either way - but I do know we need a decision yesterday because companies are going to get sick of it and leave and they won't be coming back in a hurry.. If ever.

          1. Nifty

            Re: UK needs the EU

            "crappy wages, lack of jobs and lack of productivity"

            Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: UK needs the EU

          'Thank Thatcher [snip] for putting a stop to a lot of the union silliness'

          I'm surprised you got THAT many upvotes! Here's one from me.

          [I was in the U.S. Navy when the Falklands war broke out, generally cheering you guys on. We'd have helped but you guys didn't need it]

          As for Google's silliness, our congress is looking a bit sternly at them these days. It might take 'an entire world' to stop this, admittedly. But if UK could do it on its own... as a signal... they might flinch! [then the snowball would roll downhill and EVERYONE would benefit].

          I wouldn't count on Brussels fixing this any time soon. GDPR is a good start, but if that's not ENOUGH to stop this, and Google is going for the loopholes to exploit to their maximum, they'll have to be a HELL of a lot harsher with them before this can EVER be over. And our Con-grab as well, of course.

          Existing anti-trust, anti-monopoly, and similar laws/regulations might help in this case. Expect 2-3 years tied up in court, first. I doubt Google will cave. And if EU can't stand the long game on this one, they don't DESERVE to be in any position of power. I hope they *CAN*. And UK, too, post-Brexit.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK needs the EU

        > Or the one where a whole coal mine went on strike cos they didn't like the tea lady. In wartime no less.

        Cite? I could not find it with Google and also I thought it took far less for capital punishment in war.

        1. Jemma

          Re: UK needs the EU

          Corelli Barnett - Audit of War - read & inwardly digest. It's available on Kindle and is both highly interesting and bloody depressing. Cited for you.

          PS Google doesn't know everything.

          PPS Zyklon B, which you've probably heard of was discovered by a chappie by the name of Fritz Haber, a German jew, whose wife shot herself in protest at the work he was doing in chemical weapons. At which point he yelled up to his teenage son to clean up the mess & buggered off to his meeting.. Lovely chap. Interestingly enough until 15 years ago my dad used to sell it - under a different trademark - the active is hydrogen cyanide - a metabolic decoupler. DO NOT handle this chemical indoors - you won't have time to regret it.

          You won't find this on Google either - this little nugget has been kept *extremely* quiet as it doesn't fit with the narrative - it must be at least 20MM in irony (mm - mega-morissettes).

          If you want the truth, the Internet is not always your friend.

          1. IHateWearingATie

            Re: UK needs the EU


            "You won't find this on Google either - this little nugget has been kept *extremely* quiet as it doesn't fit with the narrative"

            Erm, googling "inventor zyklon B" provides as the FIRST entry a BBC News website article from 2011 on this chap explaining all about him inventing it (seems he was the Harber from the Harber Bosch process).

            Is that *extremely quiet* ?

            1. Jemma

              Re: UK needs the EU

              The name is "Haber" not Harber, a misunderstanding of German pronunciation & bad spelling. As in Haber Process. And this guy got a Nobel (peace) prize for the way he managed to fix Nitrogen out of the atmosphere - which you *can* use to make fertiliser, but you can also use to make explosives.

              The latter is one of the reasons why you DON'T build a two storey chemical depot & store the fertiliser on the ground floor... It can explode - and this would be bad. So many snowflakes doused in perfectly harmless glyphosate. Hell I've met an Irish guy who used to drink the concentrate as a joke... He's about 87 now and perfectly healthy but I digress.

              Happily you just jogged my memory, little sub average cretin, and I can cite sources for Fritzy boy and his wife. Harris & Paxman (yes, that one) "A higher form of killing" again available on Kindle. Along with dropping mustard gas on native women & children (GB), using bio weapons (oh look, again GB, Japan and Russia).

              And a word from the wise - if you don't know what you're talking about shut the f&&* up. I've been researching this particular subject for 20 years and I can guarantee you I know a lot more than you do. Most of which doesn't reflect well on *any* of the countries involved including the allies and sadly the Jews either (look up Jewish brigades, strychnine plot, kindertransporten and what happened to the sondercommando survivors). The actual reality of the whole story is much nastier - and much less clear cut than I was led to believe. GB government for example refused to toss-bomb the concentration camp fences (with mosquito FB series) to give some of the ambulatory survivors a chance, claiming not enough aircraft, two weeks after stopping building airframes & reducing crew training. US did the same. Why had they stopped production? Because they already had so many spare aircraft they didn't know where to put them all. They had plenty to spare for a quick punt at Auschwitz, ditto crews, fuel and munitions and they knew what was happening - they just couldn't be bothered.

              Then there's the pre war Evian Conference - the basic upshot of which was a resounding "Fuck the Jews" by most of the rest of non Nazi Europe. About the only country, ironically, that didn't shit on them from a great height was Fascist Spain (mostly cos they'd already had their boot the Jews moment a few centuries before).

              There, I hopefully taught you something.

              1. IHateWearingATie

                Re: UK needs the EU


                All of which is extremely interesting.... *cough*...., but none of which addresses my very short and directed comment that you were wrong when we said you wouldn't find that zyklon B was invented by a German Jew on Google. I did. It was the first result. The very first one. Not that hard to check, really.

                I wonder how that might affect a reader's view of the veracity of the rest of your statements? Or certainly how unpleasant you are in your communications on the internet.

        2. Jemma

          Re: UK needs the EU

          On capital punishment technically you're right. Anyone else in a non essential industry who played that game would be for the high jump & technically striking during war time was illegal.

          However - everything ran on coal - and I do mean everything (if it ran on petrol it was converted to run on coal gas (except for the occasional spitfire)) . If they'd have started shooting coal miners the rest would have walked out and it would have been a very short war after that - something along the lines of about another 48hrs at best.

          The government caved in leading to the "First Rule" of coal mining...

          "We can always beat the government"

          Which lasted for over 40 years & destroyed the industry. Don't assume we don't have coal reserves left, we've got plenty, shed loads in fact. You can even run car grade diesel engines off sub 65nm liquidised coal fuel - but why have bolshie coal miners when we can shove them in the north sea mining oil & gas and blow them up occasionally just to keep them on their toes..

    2. MajDom

      Re: UK needs the EU

      Politicians in the EU parliament can be voted out just as easily. And commission members are chosen by ELECTED nationals. Why keep perpetuating this fallacy that they're unelected? Sounds like scaremongering tabloid crap. Why not complete the farce and use the word "sovereignty" in there somewhere?

      1. Matt Ryan

        Re: UK needs the EU

        Well, the member states propose their commissioner and it's rubber stamped by the parliament. The commission then proposes another 27 commissioners that are voted for as a single bloc.

        Somewhat like what happens with the House of Lords which no one thinks is a good way of populating an upper house.

      2. briesmith

        Re: UK needs the EU

        Mrs May chooses her cleaner; that doesn't make him or her elected.

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: UK needs the EU

      You can't vote out the civil servants who would take massive back handers from Google in the form of directorships when they retire from the service. The politicians just think they are running the asylum.

  2. codejunky Silver badge


    It's fully consistent with Google's previous response, which is to say it goes as close to the line of outright insubordination as it can without actually crossing it.

    Good. I hope google kick the rest of the teeth out of the EC. Why are there no competing services in the EU? Because a successful business will have some politician thinking they can run it better. Idiots.

    If people dont want android they wont buy it (I didnt). Same with Apple and MS and so on. People are not forced to buy it and they want it because google is pretty successful at delivering what people want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha

      People are not forced to buy it and they want it because google is pretty successful at delivering what people want.

      Nobody doubts that Google got to where they are by offering an attractive service offer, cheaply and non-transparently priced in "privacy units". The issue is what Google do with their market power, and in particular how they use that to try and avoid competitors getting a foothold.

      So this isn't about your choices today and whether the Google proposition is popular, it is about Google trying to make sure you don't have choices tomorrow. Is that lack of choice really what you want?

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @ Ledswinger

        "So this isn't about your choices today and whether the Google proposition is popular, it is about Google trying to make sure you don't have choices tomorrow. Is that lack of choice really what you want?"

        They cant. Simply people buy what people want to buy. MS was unassailable, until it fell. Nokia was unbeatable, until it fell. And so on that people buy what they want and if the wonder of the world screws up they lose share of the market. Google dont own the sim tech, nor the airwaves, not even the handsets as apple does. The chips are available and god knows how many hobbyist phone attempts have been made.

        I pack an IP68 dumb phone. With the storming of the market by Google and Apple and an attempt by MS even dumb phones are still available. This isnt about ensuring choice this is punishing success. If the politicians believe they know better they can go make their own private sector offering and see if anyone is interested.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "MS was unassailable, until it fell"

          And that happened also because anti trust investigations - MS had to become far more cautious, and avoid behaviours who would have put it in troubles again.

          Without, it could have wiped out easily most of the competitors, and probably IE today would dominate the browser market - think what if MS could have forbidden any other browser running on Windows.

          And that would have given a far bigger leverage to MS in the server market.

        2. Pseu Donyme

          Re: Ha

          >They cant. Simply people buy what people want to buy.

          Not really: Google already has a dominating market position and people can only buy what is available.

          In retrospect the current situation was inevitable as it was with Microsoft and Windows: a natural monopoly tends to emerge around an OS because something akin to the 'network effect*': there is a self-amplifying feedback loop where more application software for an OS attracts more users which in turn attracts more developers to the platform which means more applications which means more users which means more developers which means more applications which ... Only this time the situation is more complex and hence worse, because Android is "free" (and even nominally "open"**) i.e. Google pays for it with its ad revenues which means that a competitor with anything resembling a level playing field cannot emerge unless it somehow manages to put together a similar tangled web of mutually supporting services and revenue sources from the ground up which might be nominally possible, but isn't going to happen in practice.

          The trillion dollar question - an elegant answer to which would also guarantee a Nobel price in economics - is how to tackle a market failure like this.

          * originally - I seem to recall - from telephone networks where the value of such a network to the user depends on the number of other users (to talk to) and so one network will end up as a monopoly for which it is practically impossible to create competition from scratch

          ** in reality it is neither free or open any more: ultimately it is paid by consumers with both loss of privacy and the price of advertising baked in the price of products and services, also Google has actively perverted the original concept of an open platform by making apps depend on their proprietary SW components and services (most importantly the Google Play app store which even in isolation tends towards a natural monopoly, again, because of the network effect: more apps in Google Play (exclusively) -> more users of Google Play -> more developers using Google Play (exclusively) -> more apps in Google Play (exclusively) -> ... )

        3. Lorribot

          Re: Ha

          MS fell because it was regulated by governments and stopped from squashing the likes of Android before it could threaten their position.

          Nokia fell because it didn't control anything and made poor business decissions (it believed everything Steve Balmer told them).

          Google is in the same posiition MS was in in the 1990s and early 2000s.

          You look at Google now and it is Microsoft all over again, an OS built in hast to dominate and not to be maintained, built in features designed to stifle competition.

          The EU is going through the motions to try and reign them in to let the next one through the door, as they did with MS.

          They are as ineffectual as they were then, Google's raise was based on a new platform that the old beamoth of MS was not agile enough to see or cover off.

          What is the next platform that could unseat Google as they unseated Micorsoft?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ha

            Amazon Alexa will unseat Google and Apple. You heard it hear first. Voice controlled AI's are the next decade's dominant OS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha

        There were many choices in the past 5 years and all got wiped out because people want services (apps) not operating systems. Windows phones didn't sell because didn't have apps. Same for Blackberry, all Symbian phones, Samsung's own OS (don't even remember the name and lazy to google), cheap Android phones and tablets without Google Play. Most people can barely use Google Play, they couldn't side load apks. Don't come with Fortnite because that's for a specialized market.

        There are many alternative browsers, search engines, email apps etc but mostly for specialized markets (geeks). Why would Average Joe install something else than Chrome or maybe Firefox even if it's not preinstalled? Just look at Windows, even with Edge and IE preinstalled Chrome became market leader because that's what people wanted. They had many choices but they chose Chrome. Same with phones, it wasn't Samsung, Nokia or Microsoft who forced people to buy Android instead of Symbian, Windows Phone or Samsung whatever.

        Same happens with smart watches, non-Android ones exist but struggle and will be extint unless Huawei is right and people don't want apps on their phones. Time will tell.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "hrome became market leader because that's what people wanted.2"

          Are you sure? Or because they found it installed by another application, without asking for it? Or were buggered by Google to install it on every search? Actually, they installed a browser that tracks all of their Internet activities, are you sure it's what people wanted? Are you fine if Windows now buggers you to use Edge every time, and resets it as the default browser? What was the problem with IE if people could install other browsers? People have many choices, but they choose Windows, nobody is forcing them, right?

          People drink Google kool-aid happily, is that just because they think they get stuff for "free"?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ha

        Comments like these show the problem with socialist idiots like you.

        Google built Android. It is there product. They are not restricting choice in the phone market. They are merely building a profit model off of their own product. Just like with the Google Homepage.

        Why should any company be able to claim that they have just as much right to Google's product as they do? Don't you see the dangerous road this leads down? If you ever build anything successful, freetards can come and demand you give it to them for free.

        If someone wants to build a new phone OS, or a better search engine... GO AHEAD. Google isn't stopping them.

        Funny how Apple restricts more of the phone market then anyone else, yet they get a free pass. Why do socialist loving RegTards love a Trillion dollar overpriced trinket company so much?

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          We are not saying that google doesn't have the right to do with their OS what they want, although that has more limits than you say. However, yes, they have the unlimited right to make it the privacy-invading, closed-source in reality, complete mess that it is. They are not allowed to make it deliberately destroy competitors' systems, which it does. If you build a television that searches out my television and targets it with harmful interference if it isn't one you make, then you have violated the law. You have the right to build a television, but not to destroy mine. No matter how complex your system to destroy competition, no matter how many other useful things it does, no matter how much value people get from it, no matter how much effort they went to to create it, and no matter how much worse the competition is, you don't have the right to do that. It's wrong, and it's illegal.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ha


            That is not at all what is happening.

            Google is not saying you can't use Android. They are saying, if you want some of our best services then you need to take the whole package.

            If you don't want it, then you can't take it. What is wrong with that?

            I know RegTards demand to have everyone else's work for free.. but seriously. I don't get it. You want Google to make Android, to make all these services, then to say "Sure, take whatever you want from our product portfolio and use it however you want, and oh, no we don't need to make a profit and pay our workers."

            I mean, i dont get socialism, except unlike everyone else on this board, I have worked for a living.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ha

          I'm not sure you should be throwing around the term 'retard' in the same post you misspell 'their' - it rather suggests you are projecting

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ha

            RegTard you fool. Def: Socialist moron who sits on their fat arse all day accepting welfare checks and berates and bemoans others who better there life. Best know for sitting with hand out at street corners yelling at the people giving them money.

        3. chroot

          Re: Ha

          > If someone wants to build a new phone OS, or a better search engine... GO AHEAD. Google isn't stopping them.

          Not true: they will do everything in their power to stop them.

        4. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          @joekhul - I think you miss the point here. There's the appearance of anti-competitive behavior here, with the likelihood that it IS happening. A libertarian like me would agree that SOME government regulation is needed, and it's not "socialistic" to use anti-trust laws (and similar laws) to REGULATE a company that engages in anti-competitive and/or predatory behavior. It's why governments exist in the FIRST place, actually, to stand in the way of injustices *like* anti-competitive and predatory practices.

          I don't believe it's socialist at ALL to want anti-trust investigations and/or prosecution here.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ha

            Oh my god Bob - I upvoted one of your posts!

            Google have found themselves in a monopoly position on "licensable mobile operating systems" because they made something better than all the opposition. If they abuse that position it's perfectly fair to rein them in with regulation, but this is going to be a difficult for the EU because Google is making it very clear that the only alternative to "we give you this for free (in exchange for access to your data)" is "we make you pay for this up front, and it's the EU's fault".

            The thing is, I never buy "licensable mobile operating systems". That isn't even a class of product as I'm concerned, so I have no idea how their can be an actual market for one that needs regulating. I buy smartphones, which is a real and tangible product type, and different enough from dumbphones that it can be considered a separate market segment. Apple are Google's only remaining competition in the smartphone market, but their OS isn't licensable - which puts it out of scope of this competition action but means jack diddly squat the the average consumer.

            This all begs the question - why is the European Commission so intent on ignoring the actual competition here? Are they going to go after Apple for their monopoly of non-licensable mobile operating systems next? If not, why not - I see just as much anti-competitive behaviour there, if not more so. Can you imagine what Apple would say if the EU told them they had to allow the installation of alternative app stores on iPhones, because Google allows that sort of thing on Android? That'd *really* be popcorn worthy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If people dont want android they wont buy it"

      The same was true for Windows - that didn't make Microsoft a nice company without anti competitive practices.

      Also, which are the alternatives to Android without spending €500+ ? Probably, there were more alternatives to Windows back then...

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: "If people dont want android they wont buy it"

        >Probably, there were more alternatives to Windows back then...

        What got MSFT into the crap was setting up their code so it looked for and degraded the operation of potentially competing software. They continued to annoy people with products that only worked properly inside a Microsoft ecosystem (IE6 was the low water mark). They're not the only company that's tried this sort of thing on but they were the most visible. Google, AFAIK, has never done anything like this. Their products are deceptively simple and 'just work', something that takes a surprising amount of effort to achieve. They don't prevent competitors from entering the market, they just set the bar rather high (which IMHO isn't 'anti competitive').

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: "If people dont want android they wont buy it"

        "The same was true for Windows - that didn't make Microsoft a nice company without anti competitive practices."

        Of course it doesnt make them nice. No amount of dictatorship will do that. But what good did it do them as they lost out in emerging tech, falling behind generally and seem to be merging with linux as fast as possible.

        "Also, which are the alternatives to Android without spending €500+ ?"

        Quick google search shows iphoneX for £100. I can walk to the petrol station and buy a fully functioning brand new dumb phone for £25 and amazon seems to have a few at that price too. So the answer is a lot of alternatives unless what you want is an android, then yes you will have to buy an android.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha

      The EU is a chance for people to access courts and protect themselves against their governments.

      Its kind of like the right to bear arms, but effective[1].

      [1] against the same level of tech, (no use when one side has the USAF and the other has rifles), however the weapon in the courts is the law, and you still have a chance, That why people want to take access to supra-national courts away from us.

      I hope, you might advance an alternative means of effective defence against the scoundrels in power, post brexit, or having accepted that there is none, please, stop helping in this shameful disenfranchisement of our nation.

      Back to the meat..

      TomTom is a massive firm in the EU, seeming untroubled by the politicians.

      Google - are Big and Profitable, doesn't mean the tech coming out of the chocolate factory is really any different from anywhere else. They hire from the same pool as the rest of us, and frankly the code coming out of there is less than earth shattering.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ha

      Agree with you 1000% percent but this is El RegTard lands you are plodding about sir. Which means all the RegTards expect companies to do all their work for them, and do it for free. With nothing in return.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      "If people dont want android they wont buy it"

      this is true, but what other choices do you have? iPhone, or nothing. At least, for now...

      it's the same with windows, in a way. A du-opoly with Apple isn't helping. "Oh but you have a choice!" Really? I'm still hoping Linux will become more popular, but everyone says it won't. Sad.

      If what Google is doing is KEEPING COMPETITION OUT OF THE MARKET (aka 'predatory' or 'anti-competitive' behavior), then anti-trust regulations should be usable against them. Same with Micro-shaft, a while back, during the 'browser wars', as was made reference to in the article. That went poorly for Micro-shaft.

      What Google needs to do instead is clean up their ad revenue scheme so that it works on any browser without excessive tracking [like GDPR compliance] and does not slurp your life. then they can ignore the browser side and just rely on providing a good service with ads in it for revenue. Instead, they seem to be violating our privacy and locking us into "their solution" with greater and greater lockin and overreach and standing on the line of legality, practically taunting lawmakers and enforcers to come after them.

      /me points out that if ads weren't so irritating and/or did NOT use script, people would be less likely to HATE and BLOCK them with non-Chrome browsers... but 'they' seem compelled to script them for tracking purposes, animate them, etc. DESPITE how much people HATE that.

  3. Raffbone

    We've seen this from big tech before...

    Q. What happens when you have a much smarter sales person, when faced with a public sector procurement jobsworth...?

    A. Far more expensive, unnecessary and difficult to untangle multi-year purchases. (We've all seen it.)

    Soooo, this feels like the same thing IMO when the best Lawyers that Google can find (and can easily pay for) and are instructed to enforce a market protecting strategy, to then simply face off against comparatively naval-gazing regulators...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unbundling the app store would have been the right solution

    Then it would be feasible for say Samsung to create their own Android flavor. Now maybe people might not want it, but there are plenty of vendors making phones so even if Samsung only sold Samdroid phones you'd have plenty of options that would still sell traditional Android with all the Googly bits. Or you could buy a Samdroid and install generic Android on it.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Unbundling the app store would have been the right solution

      " Samdroid and install generic Android on it."

      Samsung already have their own app store. And a Samsung with generic Android is funny, they have more krud then any other phone. Even have their own assistant. They could remove the google stuff now and have a working phone. It would suck, but it would work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unbundling the app store would have been the right solution

        I assume Samsung's app store is in addition to what is on the Google Play store, rather than having all the same apps like Facebook, etc.? If so they couldn't really drop Google because people would go from having an app store with millions of apps to one with thousands - and none of them what most people actually want.

        1. Scunner

          Re: Unbundling the app store would have been the right solution

          It's an interesting point though. If this EU competition action does go through, and device do end up being shipped in the EU without google play etc. installed, but with the option of paying the google license fee to add the functionality post purchase, what would happen?

          A lot of people would probably just silently curse Samsung, Google and the EU and pay the extra money with gritted teeth. But there would be some who wouldn't want to, and by default they'd now be getting a non-googly experience. That's a market opportunity, but would developers react to it by getting their apps into the other app stores or not?

          Amazon are quite happy to allow their app store to be installed on AOSP-based phones. Samsung may have next to no app store presence at the moment, but they do have the largest handset presence in Android, so having their store installed by default would give them a big leg up. If anyone stood any chance of gaining from this, it would be those two.

  5. Tigra 07

    If you build it will they come?

    I'm not much of a fan of Google these days, but this is absolutely brilliant. Stuff the EU. More bothered about punishing innovation than trying to create and help European competitors compete.

    IF a competitor has a better product, then compete with a better product. Don't fine the owner of the better product for not having a worse product for smaller companies to compete with.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: If you build it will they come?

      "IF a competitor has a better product, then compete with a better product. "

      Yeah, right. So the start-up trying to compete with Google needs millions of not billions in cash to burn while they compete with a free product. The USA went through this same process over 100 years ago with the "robber barons". Google, MS and their ilk are the new robber barons. Regulation is what fixed the problem last time around.

    2. taxythingy

      Re: If you build it will they come?

      You're not quite there with your analysis. As in miles off.

      This isn't about better/worse products and competing with them. This is about Google holding a near-monopoly on a licenceable, practical phone operating system and a monopoly on services AND a range of apps. A manufacturer cannot chose Android, Play store, Google location services, Firefox, Here Maps and Bing as their default configuration on any device they sell, because then NO device they sell may use Google location services or any other component of the Play store. By contract.

      No potential competing company can reasonably make many services or apps and distribute them as default installs on new phones, since the phone manufacturers then cannot use any of the Play store services and bits on any phone they make.

      Because of Google's monopoly position and the barrier to entry*, the contract is anti-competitive and illegal under EU rules (and probably NZ, AU, CA and a great many other jurisdictions).

      * The barriers to entry require replacing the Play store, all associated services (huge task), funding the back-end delivery of all services and seeding the new store with critical apps (i.e. pay for app ports and ongoing updates). There's probably stuff missing from that short list. And doing this while maintaining a revenue stream WITHOUT phones until it is up and running properly.

  6. Jamtea

    I trust Google more than the EC

    At least Google are honest about their data collection intentions, whereas the EC just demands ever increasing control over every aspect of people's lives and only seems to exist to regulate more and more people and companies.

    Google devices ship with Google gear baked in? No, you don't say!?

    Anyone inclined to do so can quite easily unbundle Google's apps, install 3rd party stores and sideload APKs. This requirement from the EC is a power grab and an ever increasing creep of legislation and power reach. Remember that anything that applies to the major players applies 100x fold to the smaller companies who have no means to effectively fight against the EC overreach.

    Better the devil you know, and I'd rather have the ability to choose to not use the services of a company I disagree with than be legally hamstrung by the EC we have no ability to hold to account whatsoever.

    1. MajDom

      Re: I trust Google more than the EC

      legally hamstrung by the EC we have no ability to hold to account whatsoever

      By what tabloid did you enjoy your education, pray tell? Read up on it before perpetuating this lunacy..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I trust Google more than the EC

        > Read up on it before perpetuating this lunacy..

        When you call it lunacy the onus is on you to prove your point.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I trust Google more than the EC

      Better the devil you know, and I'd rather have the ability to choose to not use the services of a company I disagree with be legally enforced by the Courts than have no ability to hold a company to account whatsoever.

      Fixed it for you.

    3. Pseu Donyme

      Re: I trust Google more than the EC

      >At least Google are honest about their data collection intentions

      I have to disagree: they have consistently been pretending to be entirely benign while hiding behind vague T&Cs and only admitting to their slurpy ways after having been caught with their hand in the cookie jar (if then).

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Holding action

    My guess is that regulation of GMS will also come and that Google is aware of it and probably be preparing for it. The unbundling from the OS has techical as well as commercial reasons: APIs couldn't be updated because manufacturers weren't providing OS updates. But the complaint and the investigation related initially to the bundling of apps with the OS…

    Google's data grab is breathtaking but we should also remember how poor manufacturers have been in pushing even security updates to phones and poor governments have been in clamping down on this. This is something that I personally think Google has partially attempted to remedy with GMS (along with the data collection stuff) which puts them in good stead for the inevitable "someone hacked my phone because the manufacturer didn't provide the update" cases that we will see.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Holding action

      Google have no excuse. They chose to push Android updates by stealth via the Google Play store. With the market dominance they have, they could equally have forced through an Android update system. They didn't, because they don't care about user security or user privacy - and they didn't want the complication. The phone manufacturers have had no choice but Google for the last 5 years at least - probably the last 8.

      Google put it all through Play so they could control all the data, avoid open sourcing everything, and allowing competition. Any other conclusion is ridiculous, given the known facts.

      1. Duncan Macdonald

        Re: Holding action - wrong

        To update the full Android system on a phone needs a build of Android customized for the hardware on the phone - for example the kernel is different on a phone with a Snapdragon chip compared to on with a MediaTek chip. To produce a full upgrade for a phone needs knowledge of what hardware is in the phone (and in many cases the private key of the manufacturer to allow the upgrade to be permitted). Google provides the sources for the kernel upgrades but cannot compel the manufacturers to implement them.

        Google has moved as much of the Android system as possible into a separate blob that it can update because the manufacturers were not updating the bits they had control over.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Holding action

      You can always uninstall GMS from your phone - everything still works. The only real downside is that you get a few notifications from apps saying they need it, but they still work.

      Just use Yalp store or similar which will download all the apps from the Play Store for you under your account details.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Holding action

        Yes, it does require some involvement to push updates that need to interact directly with the phone's hardware. However, you could (and they didn't) update most of the operating system without touching the kernel. Not perfect, as sometimes you just need a newer kernel, but it's very doable. They didn't do that, nor did they do anything to make the manufacturers help with the update process. The result being that there is pretty much no phone that you can guarantee will get updates at all, and the ones that you can be pretty sure of will only get them for a year or so before they're dropped. For example, I'm resetting a galaxy note 3 from a friend who doesn't want any personal data on it, and the hardware in it is better than most cheap android phones today, yet it's still stuck four android versions back.

  8. Nunyabiznes

    The ball is in the EC's court

    That seems to be the problem, actually. There aren't enough balls there to put Google's googlies to the fire.

  9. airbrush

    what is with people??

    If they can get to the situation where Google make a version of Android that doesn't slurp your data then it's all good. Some power for the consumer to say no would be good while having a phone with a few apps for pennies. Not much hope of that but hey it's worth a shot

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU is sore they lost to Google Search

    The EU wanted to make its own search engine with a strong basis in France. It imploded and sank, taking a lot of tax payer money with it. And now they are sore Google succeeded in making billions off the back of the search engine. See Qwant. It kind of exists. It is nowhere the usefulness of Google.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EU is sore they lost to Google Search

      "See Qwant. It kind of exists. It is nowhere the usefulness of Google."

      I agree in a way - it's so much better now, to the point I'm not using Google anymore. They had become a pain, insisting on returning results with differently spelled keywords, or with no keyword whatsoever, but likely somehow sponsored.

      So far, Qwant sticks to what I ask for, and does not try to force on me whatever it believes I should look at.

      So, I'm glad my taxpayer money went there, and I don't miss the privacy invasion.


    It's All Gone AlfaConplex

    anyhow. K R O Y G B I V UV

    Hmmm, is Pink Indigo? Well Fuschia (fuchia) #FF00FF

    Ahh, Indigo #4B0082 and Pink #FFC0CB so quite a difference on the RGB scheme of things.

    Oh yeah the Android stuff, what about ICE's Androids?

    Best Regards,

    From a 1969 May 9th'er 12:53:59:53~

  12. bazza Silver badge

    So I'm paying for the software now?

    Then let's have a chat about Google's data slurping, shall we?

    Am seriously unimpressed by Google.

  13. FozzyBear

    Doesn't matter what happens or, if the EC follow through or not.

    There is one certainty the end user is going to be screwed regardless of the outcome.

  14. Nattrash
    Black Helicopters

    Click to (de)install...

    I think some here miss the point. Want to use Google flavoured Android? You're welcome. Want to use Google services? Sure you can! But... Don't need a Google media player so let's free up the space by removing it completely? Hummm... Want to remove Google Chrome completely in favour for something else (even if it's crap)? Erm... Remove Google Maps/ localisation completely? Right..? Want to adjust those (bundled) settings you found on page 74532729? ...

    Thing is that Google is trying to dictate the conditions with a "swallow or suffocate" approach. Which is logical because that benefits them, and, after all, they're a company and not Mother Theresa, so that's their objective.

    However, as with the MS case in the past, it shouldn't focus on what can be used or what is (not) included. It should focus on user free choice and independence. So for example, what can be removed completely, if this is the users free unfettered choice, without any limitations or overreaching consequences. Or as old timers used to say: "I own my (select as desired) OS/ device/ data/...".

    And that's why Google is cunning, and (again) takes that free decisive power away with their "free slimmed down", and "the full paid version" strategy. With all the "benefits" that they say come with it. Nothing new or extraordinary, won't be the first time you can hear: "Don't trouble yourself with thinking, we'll do that for you".

  15. GruntyMcPugh

    More forks?

    "the commission said it wanted more competition: more app choices, more app stores, and more flavours (forks) of Android."

    See, as an Android user,.... I don't. I've had Windows Smartphones pre-android, and then it was kind of a PITA to browse TUCOWS for compatible apps, not everything was ported for all architectures. I don't want to relive that, and end up down a fork which is a dead end, and not be able to get the App I want.

    I don't feel aggrieved, I like the ecosystem the way it is. It works. If we want other, non-Google browsers and search, we can have them.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best part about this

    RegTards want the EU to be like China.


    This is the greatest. The socialist are begging to be like the communist. How the mighty have fallen. Good thing all of Europe will be broke in 15 years anyways. Too many FreeTards

  17. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Big IT has forced me to temper my libertarian ways

    The network effects described above explain why there is one highly dominant search engine. One highly dominant short-form messaging platform. One highly dominant general social interaction platform. One highly dominate consumer goods platform. And one dominate operating system in most domains. (Android for phones, Windows for the desktop, Linux for the datacenter). It is also why IBM was basically Apple with 90+% market share back in the day.

    These network effects themselves form an almost unassailable barrier to entry. Windows phone? G+? This is a real pattern, not a coincidence, and not due to corporate incompetence. (Other than the failure to realize what a meat grinder such an operation would be in the first place.)

    But beyond this, what we have in EVERY case (except maybe, JUST maybe, Twitter) is that these dominate players extend vertically in a way which is not merely anti-competitive but actively damages the consumer's experience.

    Google's actions regarding play services follow Microsoft's regarding IE so closely that you might think that surely they hired on some bored retired Microsoft director as a senior consultant or something. They talk about protecting the consumer, but what they are doing is driving the margins of their "partners" to zero by taking complete control over what the consumer is allowed to experience.

    Only in this case, Google's real money comes from how much it gets into the head of every third person on the planet (soon to be every other thanks to their getting in bed with the Chinese).

    I was in the USAF for a few years. I've seen government incompetence up close & personal. I don't like it, and I want government to have as little power as possible. But what is possible? I want a government to keep evil people from stealing my stuff. Also from getting into my head (personally--me, not some generic member of some group of thousands) to figure out just how to lure me into spending money I don't have on things I don't need, or to vote for policies that I would otherwise support. And yes, it is only getting worse. AI-driven, global tracking cookie-informed ads are coming, and they are coming fast. The only tool that I can even imagine to hold it back is regulation.

    I don't even know who the good guys are anymore.

  18. Chet Mannly

    "there's no location service, for example,"

    Huh? I removed all Google Services (including Play Services, store framework etc) from my phone runing Oreo and location services work fine. The mobile maps site will even run in a firefox web browser on it with full navigation.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do the work for us..

    it is not fair, begs RegTards.

    Meanwhile Amazon does what RegTards says is impossible and built their own ecosystem off of Android.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Do the work for us..

      WAT? Amazon was around long before Android. They were quick to expand to smart phones when they came out, but this was from an already existing near-monopoly in what was then a much smaller market.

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