The European Commission is about to open a new front against Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ), this time in his sights the Android operating system, which represents more than 80% share of the global smartphone market, according to sources interviewed Tuesday by AFP.
The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, “should make an announcement Wednesday” on Android, said a source close to the investigation told AFP. But a Commission spokesman for its part refused to make any comment about it.
There is almost a year to the day, the intractable Danish Commissioner had initiated an investigation against Google to determine if the US giant did not infringe the European competition rules with its Android system.
This investigation has clearly strengthened the suspicion of the EU executive, which is expected Wednesday to take the next step, the “statement of objections”, a sort of indictment in Brussels jargon, according to two sources close to the investigation.
Following what the US giant will build his defense before a possible sanction from Brussels, a fine of up to 10% of the annual turnover of the group.
“A typical sign that a + SO + is nearing its completion is when the Commission asked third parties to use their confidential information in the SO + +. In recent weeks, the Commission has done this kind of queries with ever shorter deadlines for replies to do. last week she asked to reply in 24 hours, “told AFP a sources close to the investigation.
Monday, in a speech in Amsterdam, Ms. Vestager had even given a sort of foretaste of what she might say Wednesday: “Our concern is that, by requiring manufacturers and operators to charge a range of applications previously Google, rather than let them decide for themselves which applications download, Google could cut one of the main routes of access to consumers of new applications. ”
Questioned by AFP, Google defended himself: “anyone can use Android, with or without Google applications Appliance Manufacturers and operators can decide how to use Android and consumers have the final say on. applications they want to use. ”
In April 2015, in addition to the initiation of the investigation on Android, the European Commission launched a proceeding against Google, accused of abuse of dominant position in Internet search, there also sending it a “statement of objections “.
The US giant had attacked late August against-judging “false” accusations of European Competition policeman. And since the European Commission has not yet made a decision, which could again result in a fine of 10% of the turnover of the US group.