decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj Updated 4Xs
Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 10:51 AM EDT

Evidently, Microsoft and its proprietary friends didn't get the result they hoped for from their first antitrust complaint against Google to the EU Commission. The latest news is that the first one is being amicably resolved, according to the New York Times. Instead of saying to themselves, I guess we were wrong, instead Fairsearch, the Microsoft-led group that seems to have no other reason for being but to attack Google, files another antitrust complaint.

And when someone files a complaint with the EU Commission, it has to consider it. So it will.

Here's what the new complaint is about, or says it's about:

FairSearch’s complaint is that “Google uses deceptive conduct to lockout competition in mobile” — by, specifically, requiring OEMs that use Android to pre-load a suite of Google services and give them “prominent default placement” on the device in order to also get access to ”must-have Google apps such as Maps, YouTube or Play”. By doing this, FairSearch argues that Google “disadvantages other providers, and puts Google’s Android in control of consumer data on a majority of smartphones shipped today”, adding that this “predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform”....

“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition, in a statement. “We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google’s Android operating system.”

That is preposterous, and I'll tell you why. But what I do want the EU Commission to think about is this: is this constant attack on Google itself a result of antitrust schemes by the old guard to destroy the new kid on the block? What? Microsoft would never do anything mean or underhanded? Puh lease.

Here's why the new complaint is ludicrous to me. If you don't with to be in any kind of "partnership" with Google or just don't want to prominently display anything, just don't. Do what Amazon did and opt out and *still use Android* -- as Amazon has with its Kindle, building a business on the code it freely took from Google, and doing whatever it wants with it. There are no consequences to Amazon. None. It uses whatever defaults it likes. It pays Google nothing, not in money, not in displaying its search engine, nothing.

If these complaints were true, Facebook couldn't do Facebook Home. Really. Think about it. The Guardian calls its article about Facebook Home, "Lockpicking Android for Fun and Profit":

Amazon's Kindle Fire, announced late September 2011, is viewed as a clever "Android lockpick". Notwithstanding the term's illicit flavour, Amazon's burglary is entirely legal – an intended consequence of Google's decision to open-source its Android mobile operating system. Download the Android source code here, modify it to your heart's – or business needs' – content, load it onto a device and sell as many as you'd like.

Because it doesn't fully meet the terms of the Android Compatibility Program, Amazon's proprietary version isn't allowed to use the Android trademark, and the company had to open its own App Store. In industry argot, Amazon "forked" Android; it spawned an incompatible branch in the Android source tree.

The result of this heretic version of Android is a platform that's tuned to Amazon's own needs: Promoting its e-commerce without feeding Google's advertising money pump.

And Facebook has done that, wrapping a shell around Android and using it in a way Google probably doesn't much like but which is perfectly allowable. There isn't a company in the world that doesn't try to protect its brand, by some measure of quality control and standards to follow if you wish to align yourself with the company, but the point is, you can avoid all that if you choose not to align yourself with it, take the code, and use it to suit your own purposes, as both Amazon and Facebook have done.

Here's the thing I'd like to highlight: Microsoft and Nokia are both free to use the free Android code and wrap a shell around it and compete that way too. Presto. No antitrust nonsense about not being able to compete with free, as Fairsearch, like the SCO Group before it, claims:

According to FairSearch, the "below-cost" policy "makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform".
They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do. There is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing that, except pride and stubborness. Nokia was already selling phones based on free code, and it *chose* to use Windows instead and is tanking the company. I have no sympathy, and neither should the EU Commission. Build a more sensible business.

Remember the Wallace v. FSF litigation, where the claim was that it was unfair, indeed an antitrust issue, to have to compete with free code licensed under the GPL, the license on Linux? Here's what the judge said about that, "[T]he GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access and more innovation." File that under Duh.

And maybe Microsoft has forgotten, but I haven't, that it spent years telling the world that using the free Linux code actually cost more than using Microsoft products. They can't have it both ways, can they? I also don't forget that Microsoft got Motorola to put Bing as the default search engine on its phones in 2010. How was that possible if the current whining were fact-based?

And who can forget the SCO Group, funded in part by Microsoft and Sun, which is now part of Oracle? Its then-CEO gave an unforgettable talk, There's No Free Lunch, on how there is no way to have a software industry if folks don't have to pay for software. That company went so far as to claim (briefly, but hilariously -- it's my favorite SCO moment by far, and the list is long) that the GPL is unConstitutional. It's unConstitutional to give things away, no less. That was the argument. Darl even sent Congress a letter about how unfair and dangerous free code under the GPL is. I called it at the time Darl's Greed is Good manifesto. SCO, of course, is no more, which leads me to believe that greed isn't *always* good, but then my brain defaults to logical, but the link takes you to the UnXis page, who bought SCO's business, and which has preserved this wonderful writing of Darl's for posterity, which tells you something about UnXis, methinks.

You, as an individual can do pretty much the same thing Facebook and Amazon did, minus making a profit. Buy an Android phone and modify it any way you want. Here's 50 apps and resources to help you modify the homescreen alone. There's even an app called Android Tweaker to help you. Here's Pimp My ROM, the app that lets you tweak everything. There are no consequences. Put Linux on it instead, pure Linux, minus Android anything, if you want to. Millions of people do that. Go to Google Search, or whatever you use, and search for

Android modify
Yes. As you can see if you used Google Search, you can find zillions of ways to modify Android or get rid of it entirely, using Google's own search engine.

How far from anticompetitive is that?

I'm tired of Microsoft throwing tacks in the every competitor's roadway. They've been doing this as long as I can remember. You want to know why hardly anyone buys their mobile products? I can tell you. I went to see them at BestBuy over the weekend and tried out the laptops with Windows 8 on them and looked at the phones, Nokia's. People don't like them because they are annoying. They are hard to figure out, the laptops especially, and they are ugly. Yes. I said it. They are. And, to me, it's unbearable to have the tiles constantly changing. I'd never, ever buy them. Microsoft's chief advantage was familiarity. And they went and designed it away.

What Oracle is doing in this mobile discussion is a mystery to me. What? If not for Google, they'd be selling a mobile phone? No, they wouldn't. They had the opportunity, and Sun turned it down. Oracle revealed that whole history in Oracle's fantasy lawsuit against Google, the one it lost.

I do want to commend Apple for not joining in with these folks.

And what Thomas Vinje is doing switching sides and working for Microsoft now is also a mystery. I hope he's making a lot of money, because he certainly knows what Microsoft is like, having fought against them before the EU Commission for years. It's sad to watch this. But, like I've said for years, Microsoft has too much money, and it uses it to cause competitors trouble. I wish they'd put some more of that money into making decent products. We, the public, can't help it if we don't like their products. If they offered Windows 8 to me for free, I'd decline the offer. Google's free Android has nothing to do with it. I don't use Android either, actually. I am not interested in any mobile phone until some governmental agency, or corporate interests, decide to quit following its customers around everywhere they go. Like that will ever happen. Let's not pretend that any of this has to do with helping out us little people. As Michael Jackson's song says, they don't really care about us.

And the EU Commission should not care about propping up dying companies who can't compete in a new world. Seriously. If this argument was about mousetraps, it'd be an antitrust violation to come up with a better mousetrap, because it surely would put the old mousetrap makers out of business, if they didn't adapt.

How stupid is it for the EU Commission to be used to stunt innovation? The proprietary companies realize, finally, that free and open works out well for everyone but them and their old-fashioned business model. And instead of following Google's lead and changing their business model, they'd like help squelching the new competition, which offers people products that they have fallen in love with and want to keep using.

And for FairSearch, the inappropriately named entity carrying Microsoft's flag, let me tell you something. There isn't one company that you represent that anyone I know wants to use for search. Seriously. I don't use Bing because I think it's second rate. But if it were better than Google's, I'd still use Google's, because I decided years ago that Microsoft's business ethics were lower than what I require in a company that I wish to do business with. And this latest attack, with the flimsy "antitrust" cover, shows me that I was absolutely right to make that decision.

And may I hold high the Internet's banner for a moment? The very last thing anyone who cares about the Internet or free speech or freedom at all should want is some governmental body telling us what can and can't appear in search results, or worse what *must* appear. Seriously. Don't imagine for a second that this can end well for you and me. Microsoft and its little helpers should be ashamed to even be trying for such a result. I know. Microsoft isn't famous for feeling shame.

Here's what I believe their plot is really about: killing off Linux, Android, anything free and open, and then gouging customers like the goode olde dayes of proprietary monopoly on the desktop. There is nothing new under this sun, just new weapons of choice. And that is exactly what the EU Commission should investigate to see if it is, indeed, the real antitrust plot.

[ Update: A reader asked how to contact the EU Commission, so here is the page, which says:

7. Is there a contact point for consumers on competition issues?

The European Commissioner responsible for competition created a Consumer Liaison Unit within the Commission’s Competition DG to ensure a permanent dialogue with European consumers. If you have any question on competition please contact our Consumer Liaison officer by using this address: comp-consumers@ec.europa.eu

Do be very polite and on point if you do write. No one listens to rude people. I don't either, and neither do you. So be extra, extra polite, please, if you wish to be listened to.

[ Update 2: Here's a video on YouTube, "How To Remove System Apps From Android Smartphone!", showing how incredibly easy it is to remove any system app from a rooted Android phone.]

[ Update 3: Just so you know I'm not making this up, here's a video on YouTube, taking you to the part where the guy is setting up a Google Nexus 7 with Android Jellybean 4.1, and he has a Google account, but it doesn't register, so he just skips it and sets it up without it perfectly fine without it. And here is another video, going back to Android 2.1 on a Sony Xperia X10, and this guy just bypasses the Google Account button completely and also sets it up just fine. Ergo, you are not required to use GMail or to have a Google Account to set up and run Android phones.]

[ Update 4: Google, Blackberry, Earthlink and Red Hat have now asked the FTC and the Department of Justice to look into the practice of operating companies outsourcing patent enforcement to trolls. They believe, depending on the facts, that such agreements can be an antitrust violation.]


  


Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj Updated 4Xs | 348 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Thanks.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 11:08 AM EDT
:)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Seems like a fair complaint to me.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 11:17 AM EDT
Isn't that the same charge that the EU and other levied against Microsoft with
regard to Internet Explorer? Wasn't Microsoft forced to unbundle Windows and
Internet Explorer?

Work issued me an Android phone. Google is so embedded in it, I was forced to
open a gmail account in order for the phone to work.... so... you know...
Microsoft might have a point.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mixed feelings
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 11:52 AM EDT
Looking at the complaint, here is what I see:
1. Google has a monopoly on search - not illegal monopoly, but true. Having a
monopoly puts restrictions on what can be done so that competition is not
inhibited.
2. Google subsidizes Android development using predatory pricing - true,
although Microsoft is trying to take this advantage away by pushing their
Microsoft license on Android device vendors
3. Google ties Android services like maps which it gives away to providing
default Google search tools, for which Google receives revenue.

My mixed feelings result from how I agree that Google is trying to do things
correctly, but is close to the antitrust borders. The problem is that I don't
want antitrust laws interpreted loosely for "good guys", for fear the
tool won't be available when a "bad buy" abuses antitrust.

Things we know Microsoft has done include a Windows license discount based on a
computer seller only selling systems with Windows licenses. Intel did a similar
thing with CPUs. Microsoft also had to put the browser selection because of
tying browsers to the OS.

Could a device manufacturer include a Bing search widget displayed as
prominently as the Google search widget and still get access to Maps? If not,
that certainly comes close to what Microsoft was doing with IE.

Google would be better off charging for the Maps software, and paying the device
manufacturer to prominently place its search apps. This puts the cost and
benefits where they belong. Amazon could then include Google maps without
including Google search, but it would cost them more. There are probably a few
details that need to be worked out, like how Google apps could be distributed
through the Amazon store, as I'm guessing Amazon never wants Play to appear on
its devices.

Bottom line is that I think Android itself is open enough that it's easy to
interchange different parts of the OS, that it should not be a monopoly. But,
tying installation of one Google service to the installation of another service,
particularly to one critical to the monopoly search business, may need some
changes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tell them PJ Tell Them.... N/T
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 11:59 AM EDT
:-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections
Authored by: NigelWhitley on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:10 PM EDT
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:09 PM EDT
Before anonymous posts take over the comments. Please post any corrections
under
this thread, preferable by including the correction in the title
e.g. FairSearch-->ProprietaryBandits

or more likely
monopolice-->monopolies

Thank you
----------------
Nigel Whitley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off-topic
Authored by: NigelWhitley on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:15 PM EDT
Please enlighten us on those matters not directly pertaining to this article by
commencing a thread beneath this one.

Thank you
--------
Nigel Whitley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspicks
Authored by: NigelWhitley on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:18 PM EDT
Kindly make any suggestions for or comments on the much-loved Newspicks section
beneath this thread. Thank you.
---------------
Nigel Whitley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes transcripts
Authored by: NigelWhitley on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:21 PM EDT
Please paste them in plain text but with hypertext showing to allow PJ to easily
cut and paste them into the relevant sections.

Thank you.
-----------------
Nigel Whitley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:21 PM EDT
Are we missing something here?

Is this only ante Google? Or is it even deeper?

The complaint against a zero cost system, win against Google, then extent to
include all Open source OS.

We should track the bigger picture too.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj
Authored by: kuroshima on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:32 PM EDT
I am European, and I often lament not being able to join you
in campaigns to call/mail the government (see SOPA). Now I
can, but I don't know how. I will investigate, but if anyone
can direct me to where I can find the proper channels and how
to properly draft such a letter, I would be really grateful.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:53 PM EDT
Great article, Pamela. As usual. I'm following you since SCO
filed it's first suit. Have the same thoughts, understandings,
actions. Never buy Microsoft. Never use Bing or other
products, because I consider Microsoft immoral company. Always
recommend my family and friends not to buy Microsoft.
Have great respect for you and proud of you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS Maps Patent suit
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 12:56 PM EDT
Is Microsoft's patent suit versus Motorola Mobility & Google in Germany part
of this assault?

[ Reply to This | # ]

They're not that slow
Authored by: NigelWhitley on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 01:04 PM EDT
PJ wrote "The proprietary companies realize, finally, that free and open
works out well for everyone but them and their old-fashioned business
model." but, unusually, I don't agree.

I believe they've always known that and have just had to change tactics as
Ghandi's process inevitably erodes their influence. In times past Microsoft and
its cohorts (allegedly *cough*) used illegal tricks to slow or prevent adoption
of FLOSS. When that proved an embarrassing and public failure, they switched to
misleading and inaccurate studies (Get the FUD anyone?). As people flagged the
disconnect between the pseudo-science and the truth and FLOSS continued to rise
in popularity, legal attacks began in the guise of protecting sooper-sekrit
interlekchul property. Now that the laughter is dying down a little, they are
trying to get states and super-states to protect their failing business model
under the flag of anti-competitive behaviour (pot, kettle, black?).

I'm not so surprised at US companies using claims of anti-competitive activities
to help them compete unfairly but I thought the Swedes had a sense of irony :
what are Nokia doing here? ;-)

I've posted before about why I believe MS is trying to undermine Android and
Google. They are still trying to drive a wedge between Google and the handset
makers. Originally that was by attacking individual manufacturers but leaving
Google alone, IMHO hoping to create the impression that Google were using the
handset makers as cannon fodder and would abandon them. Oracle v Samsung has
exposed that approach as a bullet to the tarsals and indirectly made it far
harder for MS to continue its "death of a thousand patents" campaign.


With this "complaint" (advertising copy) the usual suspects
acknowledge that they aren't good enough to compete with a cheaper product and
they want teacher to give Google a caning for being a meanie. They're clever
enough to say they want Google to get six of the best for bullying the little
kids. Of course, their problem long term is that the little kids will all say
Google gave them free sweeties and weren't mean but until then their tame
journalists can sing the proprietary song and try to sway the under-informed and
overcautious into sticking with good ole MS.

Unfortunately for those defenders of yesterday's technology, the ultimate result
will not be a caning for FLOSS but merely the flogging of a nearly deceased
gelding called Windows. But then the complainants, like Windows itself, have
never been that quick either.
----------------
Nigel Whitley

[ Reply to This | # ]

OS News, and we will BlackBerry you!
Authored by: tz on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 01:21 PM EDT
OS News had a summary noting Windows has similar badges require the same if not
worse from Microslaver "partners".

Can I put Win 8 on a Pixel? Or even on my old Netbook?

Blackberry is really, really, interesting. It runs QNX, which is a unix-like
(posix) core designed for embedded so is much more power efficient, and
Blackberry has basically an android compatibility layer making porting nearly
trivial. I should note they have multiple APIs for developers from C up to Java
and I think HTML5 based. They are hungry and with just two models of phones,
the Z10 and Q10 might become the 3rd ecosystem.

(Yes, pj, I know it isn't fully "open", but google has their own
problems - or where is the opensource Reader replacement?).

Nokia is in a class by itself (see communities dominate brands) with ++Elop.
Yet the Antarctic and the Gobi desert are "ecosystems" even given
their lack of life. The Finnish Government should be suing or lynching someone
given the direct impact to the GDP of such incompetence (or worse, malice).

[ Reply to This | # ]

They are not suing to win
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 01:24 PM EDT
I cannot see, how they would have any change of prevailing.

There real reason for suing is to draw as much publicity as
possible to try and taint Google's reputation and to make
Google coff up even more Lawyer fees.

Truly immoral and yet another reason not to buy any of their
products.

[ Reply to This | # ]

And even a fanboy notices...
Authored by: tz on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 01:32 PM EDT
http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/what-microsoft-could-learn-google-play-update

JCP has problems. There are stores which are memories like Montgomery Ward. MS
has decided to model their online like them. One can complain about Neiman
Marcus and/or Walmart but they at least have stuff you want that you can find
and pay for.

The article is brief. But it shows the difference in attitude.

Microsoft is also really, really stupid in another way. In the earlier message
I noted Reader is going away.

If MS even had one tiny spark of creativity (even evil empire lock-in
creativity) there would already be a Bing-reader. (I don't trust google, I
trust M$ less, but would consider it - also note there will be no iReader...).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 01:39 PM EDT
Maybe things are done differently in the EU but I have bought and used Android
devices from Acer, LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola. Did they have Googles apps?
Yes. Did they also have competing apps already installed? Yes. All except the
acer did not have some google apps very prominent. In fact they all did not have
gmail app on any of the screens, but did have some other email client on the
first page along with other non-google apps like facebook, amazon other that I
so could careless about.

Thing is Google is not saying these Android device can not have competing apps.
If they are not on there it is not Googles doing, it is either the device maker
and/or the sellers choice.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Wow you must have hit a nerve PJ - I haven't seen such a lot of trolls since SCO
Authored by: SilverWave on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 01:49 PM EDT
Hope they are being paid well - this kind of stain on your
soul isn't going to wash off.

---
RMS: The 4 Freedoms
0 run the program for any purpose
1 study the source code and change it
2 make copies and distribute them
3 publish modified versions

[ Reply to This | # ]

How long can this go on?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 02:33 PM EDT

At what point do these continuous attacks from Microsoft and their puppets,
though the courts, become an actionable offense?

It couldn't be more obvious that Microsoft (and puppets) are using the public's
courts as an attempted method to gain a competitive advantage.

Is there no downside for Microsoft and their puppets? Can they continue these
attacks forever and expect no repercussions?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Android is Android by any other name...
Authored by: TemporalBeing on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 02:44 PM EDT
I picked up my first tablet - ASUS Transformer Infinity. Works great, love it.
It's Android with Google's approval, and thus all the Google Apps.

At the same time, we also picked up a Nabi Jr. for our 2 yr old, advertised as
running Android 4. We'd like to have YouTube and a few other Google Apps on
there, but I'm going to have to figure out how to get them on as the makers
(Fuhu) are not certified by Google yet (reports are they are trying to be). It's
a great little device, and our son loves it. (He now rejects the iPod Touch for
it.)

And of course there is Amazon and B&N who both have their own tablets
running Android without the Google Apps on them either. Though they don't
necessarily advertise it as being Android - Amazon does, B&N doesn't.

So, it's kind of hard to see what they're complaining about.
As PJ said, it's Google gives permission to distribute the Google Apps when it
meets their definition of Android as a control for their own brand.

And it's not like Microsoft isn't guilty of that themselves - they do that with
Internet Explorer among other things for all OEM Windows vendors.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Antitrust" Behavior
Authored by: the_flatlander on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 02:58 PM EDT
Imagine, for a moment, if some company insisted that resellers of its DESKTOP
Operating System did something like what Google is accused of doing. Imagine if
they included a [horridly insecure] default browser that you could not delete;
whose home page and default search engine were set to that company's own
[worthless] offerings. Imagine if everyone selling desktop hardware had to pay
a fee to this supplier for every piece of desktop hardware they sold
*regardless* of what Operating System it actually shipped with. Wouldn't *that*
be worthy of an anti-Trust Complaint?

If anything like that were going on, we'd need to form a European Consortium,
and call ourselves "FairDesktop", and file our own complaint with the
EU.

The Flatlander

[ Reply to This | # ]

Free Software is below cost?
Authored by: kawabago on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 03:07 PM EDT
I love them describing open source as 'below cost'. The
software was written with the intention of it's free
distribution. People who use it have improved it and donated
their improvements back to everyone else. So the 'cost' of
the software is the improvements each user makes to it. That
is simply a far greater value proposition than proprietary
software can offer.

Microsoft can either find a way to be more efficient in a
proprietary model so it can compete against the value
offered by open source. Or it can adopt the open source
model to develop it's own products. Of course, it's past
behavior will make it very difficult to convince anyone to
cooperate with it, so it may have no way forward.

It's death will be painful.

[ Reply to This | # ]

When is an Android Not an Android?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 03:38 PM EDT
Sure, Google is imposing its rule to keep the Android line pure.
So does MS, watch what happens to anyopne who wants to sell
an OS called Windows, or anything like it. I don't believe Google
requires OEMs to give Google apps “prominent default placement”
on the device. AFAIU the Google frameworks do that automagically,
if they are not adjusted by the OEM. Some OEMs do adjust these
settings to give default prominence to their own in-house apps.

e.g. Huawei sell devices in China as "Android" which behave as
Android in all respects except they don't have the Google frameworks
nor any of the usual Google apps. A suite of Chinese apps is installed
in their place, including the mobile operator's app store. Yet on the
other side we saw what happened when Ali Baba wanted to call their
device Android while it contained non-conforming apps.

The same Huawei hardware sold in markets outside China has
essentially the same OS but including the Google frameworks and
app suite. A common thread amongst the Android mobile device
hacking community is how to get the Google apps installed on devices
that were sold without them. Yes, most of the apps are available on the
"Play Store", but they don't run without the underlying frameworks.
These frameworks are normally available only to OEMs who toe the
party line. Unauthorized possession of them is nearly as bad as
possessing an Apple ROM, but hasn't stopped them circulating on
certain filesharing sites.

I sometimes complain how Linux forces users to select their own defaults.
Now I'm changing horses to observe that a user is always free to
change their defaults on Android devices. Perhaps that freedom is
frightening the horses.

[ Reply to This | # ]

kind of interesting.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 04:14 PM EDT
maybe not really.

http://upt ime.netcraft.com/up/graph/?host=www.fairsearch.org

using ubuntu.. hmm. just using some hosting company.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 04:22 PM EDT
IANAL, but PJ's charge that these complaints are anti-trust
plots by the plaintiffs got my attention. Can Google send the
EU Commission a counter-complaint with that very charge? Or
will that be too hard to prove?

[ Reply to This | # ]

File that under Duh.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 04:44 PM EDT
Thank you yet again PJ. I didn't realize how badly I needed a
laugh today.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tell the EU Competition DG what you think about 'FairSearch'
Authored by: knarf on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 06:45 PM EDT
From PJ's update:
Is there a contact point for consumers on competition issues? The European Commissioner responsible for competition created a Consumer Liaison Unit within the Commission’s Competition DG to ensure a permanent dialogue with European consumers. If you have any question on competition please contact our Consumer Liaison officer by using this address: comp-consumers@ec.europa.eu Do be very polite and on point if you do write. No one listens to rude people. I don't either, and neither do you. So be extra, extra polite, please, if you wish to be listened to.

So let's write them some letters. Nicely worded letters. Letters which explain the nature of free software, the fact that Android does not depend on those Google services they harp about, the fact that there are many Android devices which do not use any Google services, etc. Post them here if you want so others can be inspired by them - or criticise them if so required.

---
[ "Omnis enim res, quae dando non deficit, dum habetur
et non datur, nondum habetur, quomodo habenda est." ]

[ Reply to This | # ]

What's Wrong With This Complaint Is,
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 07:07 PM EDT
That it should be addressed against the device vendors, not Google.

First it would be interesting to read this "contractual obligation"
to give Google apps “prominent default placement”. Either we wait
for it to sift thru the EU machine, or wikileaks publishes it.

Second, whose fault is it that customers want to use Google services?
The device vendors can easily install Android without any Google
apps or services. I suspect comparative sales figures would quickly
decide their future course of action. And this is Google's fault how?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fixed that for you
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 09:05 PM EDT
FairSearch’s complaint is that “Microsft uses deceptive conduct to lockout
competition in mobile” — by, specifically, requiring OEMs that use Windows to
pre-load a suite of Microsoft services and give them “prominent default
placement” on the device in order to also get access to ”must-have Microsoft
apps such as Maps, Bing etc”. By doing this, FairSearch argues that Microsoft
“disadvantages other providers, and puts Microsoft’s Windows in control of
consumer data on a minority of smartphones shipped today”, adding that this
“predatory distribution of Windows at above-cost makes it difficult for other
providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with
Microsoft’s less than dominant mobile platform”....

“Microsft is using its Windows mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to
deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,”
said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition, in a
statement. “We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to
protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will
only embolden Microsoft to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers
increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Microsoft’s Windows
operating system.”

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Below-cost" Software is Unfair?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 10:00 PM EDT
According to FairSearch, the "below-cost" policy "makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform".

So what about the other "below-cost" software like:

  • Ubuntu
  • Firefox
  • Postgres
  • Python
  • LibreOffice/OpenOffice
  • Chome Browser
  • etc.

Let's get those banned as well. But not Java, oh, no. Oracle would never give away software at below cost while tying something else to it. Not and keep a straight face while complaining here. Their complaint is based on the fact that the Java feature phone market has no future in a world of smart phones. They gave away Java as a general purpose programming language, but charged license fees for the version used in phones. It's easy to see what they're unhappy about.

The complaint will probably focus on the aspect of product tying - you'll get 'x' for free if you buy 'y'. The big problem with that approach is that just about everybody in the software industry does that to one degree or another.

The big problem from my perspective is they are trying to get it declared "unfair" for software to be "free of charge" if it competes with a product that someone else wants to charge for. It won't take long for Microsoft to take a victory in this case and try to stretch it to cover lots more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj Updated
Authored by: Glenn on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 10:37 PM EDT
So, when an operating system fires up, all we should see is a blank screen. No
logos, Microsoft, Google, Verizon, etc.

[ Reply to This | # ]

When an operating system is effectively a trojan horse...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 09 2013 @ 10:58 PM EDT
“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, Brussels-based counsel to the FairSearch coalition...

Interesting. I've been telling people the same thing about Microsoft since at least 2000. The problem with this FarSearch argument is that Microsoft really DOES violate anti-trust laws, while Google's software doesn't even come close to that level of swamp.

Google Maps has nothing to do with the Android operating system, except that there is a port of Google Maps for Android.

Now when Microsoft opens up it's software so that their customers are actually "free" to use and modify the software to their needs and wishes, I will perhaps give them more of an ear. Until then, I'll remain convinced that swamp gas is, in fact, swamp gas.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Will MS file an anti-trust suit against the Catholic Church next?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 12:34 AM EDT
MS might argue that Catholics lockout competition in religion by giving
prominent default placement to the crucifix and devotional images in church, and
by distributing the Eucharist below cost.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another Cynical "Antitrust" Complaint From Microsoft and Its Buddies Against Google ~pj Updated
Authored by: raindog on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 07:36 AM EDT
Does antitrust law work differently in the EU or something? Because in the US,
you pretty much have to have a monopoly in one area and try to use that as
leverage to monopolize another area in order to even start to get in trouble.

Sure, Google has a monopoly on online ads, and search, pretty much. I don't
think Microsoft and its shills are even trying to claim that Google is trying to
abuse its monopolies on those two areas to obtain a monopoly on mobile phone
operating systems, nor do they already have such a monopoly with what, 55%
market share?

When Google hits 95% market share (installed base market share, not monthly
sales market share or anything so ephemeral) then we can talk about
browser/search engine ballot screens and restrictions on online ad networks. But
today they don't. And they won't for years, even if Microsoft and Blackberry
continue to be as hapless as they've been since Android's release.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"FairSearch coalition"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 09:24 AM EDT
who they then? Microsoft and their partners in crime?

A fake grass-roots organisation?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Both. - Authored by: jesse on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 01:41 PM EDT
Text of Complaint, anyone?
Authored by: maroberts on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 12:18 PM EDT
Does anyone have a link or access to the full text of the
complaint to the EU?

[ Reply to This | # ]

From a rooted Android
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 01:04 PM EDT
While I fully support Google in this, saying "from a rooted
Android" is the same as saying IE can be removed from a
"modified windows machine".. Those apps should come off
easily rooted or not.

[ Reply to This | # ]

rooted(?) Android phone.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 01:10 PM EDT
Could someone remind me what "rooted" means in this context? It's not
related to "root kit", right?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Jack Hughes - ironmonger,
Authored by: SirHumphrey on Wednesday, April 10 2013 @ 05:47 PM EDT
a maker of black pots and kettles Jack Hughes

[ Reply to This | # ]

That evil Linus Torvalds
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, April 11 2013 @ 05:24 AM EDT
'...the "below-cost" policy "makes it difficult for other
providers of operating systems to recoup investments...'

It's all the fault of that evil Linus Torvalds creating a below cost operating
system called Linux. Someone should make that illegal.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )