back to article Why Google won't break a sweat about EU ruling

The European Commission wants to see a thousand Android forks bloom as the result of its decision yesterday to demand remedies from Google for its anti-competitive conduct on mobile. Or if not thousands, then at least a good few. Alternative Androids like FireOS or Lineage OS (formerly CyanogenMod) would become a much more …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I'm just here

    to ensure that there's no useful conversation about Google.

    Look! Over there!! Think of the children!!!!!!!!

  3. Fred West
    Stop

    Fixed it for you

    "Microsoft and Oracle want to see a thousand incompatible Android forks bloom as the result of its decision yesterday".

    Microsoft tried the same stunt to kill java, and Microsoft still as evil as they have always been, embrace, extend, exginguish.

    They must be happy that they got the retards in the EU to do their dirty work. It only took a few brown envelopes...

  4. Jay Lenovo
    Facepalm

    Re: Fixed it for you

    At the point something requires a 5 billion dollar fine, did the EU not previously see this issue brewing?

    Now after the the mobile forest has been logged, the EU considers the conservation of competition.

    Thank goodness for bureaucracy that effectively puts smoke alarms in every burnt down house.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fixed it for you

    And whilst the usual Google hater has creamed his pants on this news, there is far more rational reporting of this, that the tat this is being spewed here by the usual suspects..

    Here is one far more logical and less rabid read:

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/3291316/android/eu-android-antitrust-ruling.html

    It's hard to argue against any of the ponts here. Google have provided a free and open OS without any restrictions and allow anyone to do with as they wish. They also already provide more mechanisms that iOS does for setting other default browsers systrm-wide, and they also allow others to ship phones with their browsers and search engines installed and default..

    Some people are looking pretty silly right now ( but they must be used to that by now). If the EU want a reason why the UK voted for Brexit, dumb and ilfounded anticonsumer rulings like this would be high on the list for many.

    Or in other words, think of Brexit as EU antitrust where EU has too much power and influence...

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. bazza Silver badge

    Re: Fixed it for you

    It's hard to argue against any of the ponts here. Google have provided a free and open OS without any restrictions and allow anyone to do with as they wish.

    No they haven't. Google Play Services effectively provides many of the OS's critical APIs, but it is a proprietary blob you can get only if you play Google's game by their rules, not yours.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fixed it for you

    Untrue.

    Android AOSP is a fully functional opensource operating system with a rich set of programming APIs that have nothing to do with Google services, it also includes opensource non Google apps, including a mail client, web browser, calendar, picture gallery, music player, calculator, camera, txt messaging client, telephony client.

    You can build all this for free, change it as you wish, and none of it has anything to do with Google play services, or Google cloud services.

    If you write your app against the bare SDK, it will run on this ASOP Android, you only need the add-on Google APIs if you want play services stuff like maps etc.

    https://cdn.tutsplus.com/mobile/uploads/2014/02/android-play-services-google-apis.png

    There is very clear separation between what Google have contributed for free at considerable cost, and what the closed source independent googly stuff is.

    It's fashionable to not understand the difference or pretend there is a blurred lines when there isn't.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I'm just here

    "to ensure that there's no useful conversation about Google."

    Indeed!

    We all need to be careful what we say.

    Wouldn't want to get served with a takedown notice from the DMCA

    https://lumendatabase.org/blog_entries/798

  10. Danny 14 Silver badge

    Re: I'm just here

    the dealie isn't what you can do with AOSP or forks. the dealie is what manufacturers can do. If they have expensive product A with all rhe bells and whistles running stock android then they cannot have cheap product B running their own android that they cooked up with AOSP. Google dont allow it.

    Google like to keep all their baked in goodies and search bars etc. they dont need to phone hone as the default has the users doing that for them.

    This ruling should let manufacturers do what they like with android without fear of reprisals. Obviously google will continue with reprisals but just do it within the rules.

  11. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Re: Fixed it for you

    Re: Playing by their Rules...

    Well how is that a bad, or unfair thing again? Apparently this agreement has been good enough these nearly last 10 Years of Android. So why the fuss now? Perhaps Bruxelles could refund MicroSoft all them Fines from the 90's/2k's to reinvigorate their Smartphone sector?

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Re: I'm just here

    "If they have expensive product A with all rhe bells and whistles running stock android then they cannot have cheap product B running their own android that they cooked up with AOSP. Google dont allow it."

    And this tactic is a near carbon copy of Microsoft's tactics against Linux back in the early 2000s

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fixed it for you

    "Android AOSP is a fully functional opensource operating system with a rich set of programming APIs that have nothing to do with Google services"

    Totaly irrelevant when any phone manufacturer either offer all Google services or don't offer any Google services. And if they offer AOSP they aren't allowed to offer anything from Google. By absolute ultimatum from Google.

    Talk about abuse of a (practical) monopoly to kill competition. Which the EU is all about and commenter is dead wrong, no amount of excuses can change that.

    Orlowski seems to realize what is the problem but he thinks that remedies aren't enough and he might be right ... EU might slap maximum penalties, 4% of revenue, but Google might still rather pay than give up the monopoly.

    They've plenty of cash, 4% is a lot, but not really a problem.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fixed it for you

    "It's fashionable to not understand the difference or pretend there is a blurred lines when there isn't."

    Yes, and I see commenter is doing exactly that. How much Google is paying for you to do it?

    Abusing the monopoly is totally obvious to anyone who isn't a paid puppet or blind.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Fixed it for you

    " Apparently this agreement has been good enough these nearly last 10 Years of Android.So why the fuss now?"

    When there's healthy competition companies can do a lot of things which are specifially illegal for a monopoly company. Nokia OS basically died, Windows Phone same thing, what's left?

    Sailfish and many others didn't even boot (partially) because of Google's illegal operations.

    Android currently definitely is a monopoly with >95% overall market penetration and ~100% in low cost segment. And that means totally different set of rules to it. Also those rules do not apply to Apple.

    Simple.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    ability to add/remove any app I want to.

    total control of the device

    choice to opt-in to Playstore, or any other feature google dream up.

    No need to root to do what I want (i.e no need to "break" the thing and not have access to corporate MDM suites).

    and I know it's more of a operator issue, but no network locks.

    In fact, I want the phone to behave as if I own it. And not the other way round.

    Too simple ?

  17. matjaggard

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    Way too simple. How can you possibly get "total control of the device" and "No need to root to do what I want"??

  18. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    "rooting" has become a dirty word. (No sniggering at the back, there, Australians)

    "Have admin access" sounds more respectable - no company would restrict users from having administrator on their own machine!"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    So how much would you be prepared to fork out on top of a 'regular' droid phone to achive it ? Hardware and apps ?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Too simple

    How can you possibly get "total control of the device" and "No need to root to do what I want"??

    By not locking away key functions that need rooting to access. Like add/remove software, for a start.

    Don't blame me for wanting what I want. Blame Google for devising an OS which makes the user a second-class user unless they "root" their own device.

    Who would buy a house with one room you needed the architect to open every time ?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    So how much would you be prepared to fork out on top of a 'regular' droid phone to achive it ?

    Currently my £129 Wileyfox Swift (model 1) is pretty good. Doesn't have NFC or a fingerprint sensor, but apart from that has done the job for nearly 3 years.

    In a nutshell, one reason why new phones aren't flying off the shelves.

  22. Fred West
    FAIL

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    It's called a Google Pixel 2, and it literally does everything you describe...

    Every app can be uninstalled or fully disabled, you can opt out of Google play (on any Android phone), and if you really want to run absolute bare metal Android, Google publish the source code to build your own, or you can decide you trust some random XDA distribution from .someone you don't know..

    Option 1 and 2 are clearly the best. I don't personally trust XDA distribution channels or LineageOS

  23. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    I'll add to that: and end to all the spying, not only by Google but by the app developers.

  24. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    ""rooting" has become a dirty word"

    It has? Even though if you don't have root access, you don't have control over your own computer?

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    What's wrong with a pixel 2? A full year after it's release, it's still the best phone you can buy, regardless of price, and is £400 less than a same spec, but inferior Apple device...

  27. DougS Silver badge

    How does having root

    Give you "total control" over your computer? Unless you have full source to everything you run (including firmware) and compile it yourself or implicitly trust whoever compiled it, you don't have total control.

    Having root lets you tweak some things in Android you weren't able to tweak before. But it won't stop Google collecting data on you when you run Google Search or Google Maps. You'd have to give up all their proprietary non open source apps if you want to avoid that. Being able to prevent data collection is kind of one of the big things that "total control" implies, at least to me.

  28. Ygvb

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    You just want an Android phone, in short.

  29. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    ""rooting" has become a dirty word"

    It has? Even though if you don't have root access, you don't have control over your own computer?

    Yes, it has. I didn't say rooting was wrong - I have root on all my devices, and wouldn't get a device where it wasn't possible - I said it's become a dirty word.

    People wanting 'root' are considered dubious hackers, many apps will refuse to work, some companies say rooting voids guarantee... As I said, no-one would treat your access to your desktop machine the same way, but as soon as you talk about "rooting" your phone, it's considered dubious. i.e. rooting has become a dirty word.

  30. Loud Speaker Bronze badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    The reality is, more and more of my friends and family will not upgrade their present phone because they can't abide the bloatware, and would only buy a flagship phone without it. Bloatware seriously damages the Android experience.

    Android flagships are sinking - you don't need Netcraft to confirm it. If EU regulations wont stem the rising tide, maybe consumer dissatisfaction will.

    Contracts are dead: SIM free is better because the contracts are scams, and you can buy medium priced phones if desperate because you broke your old one. Here in the UK, grey imports are more attractive to a lot of people because of dual SIM.

  31. Danny 14 Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    you dont need to root in order to flash a rom. I have a note 3 with a custom rom but an intact knox. it isn't rooted.it has no bloat at all.

    my wife has an s6 that is rooted and custom rom. that has no bloat but wouldn't pass muster on some root detecting apps (it is rooted with root hiding capability but it isnt perfect)

  32. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    How were you able to do it without tripping dm-verity, which SafetyNet also checks, and which can ONLY pass with official ROMs?

  33. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Re: Too simple

    Blame Google for devising an OS which makes the user a second-class user unless they "root" their own device.

    There's the problem.. users. Users don't understand or care about what OS is installed. They want their shiny phone, apps, and no problems. As for root... I'd wager that outside of tech types, very even have a clue what it is.

    Teach the users about their phone and what knowing some tech will do for them and this whole thing may change. Seems that the old saw (paraphrased) about "an informed and educated user is the best user" should apply, but Google doesn't want that just like Apple doesn't.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    ""Have admin access" sounds more respectable - no company would restrict users from having administrator on their own machine!""

    Like Microsoft has been doing since XP?

    "Admin" has basically no rights at all in Windows 10, everything is owned by 'system' and only way to get 'system' privilege, is a privilege elevation security bug or virus created backdoor.

    'System' is reserved for MS and NSA, not anyone locally: After all, they are just lusers, the machine is actually owned by Microsoft and _they_ can do anything remotely, any time.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    "... no-one would treat your access to your desktop machine the same way, "

    Except Microsoft. You don't have any access to anything critical in W10, no matter what kind of local 'admin' rights you have.

    W10 is basically a bloated remotely controlled terminal program for forcing ads to lusers and the central computer (with actual admin power) is in Redmont.

  36. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    "it's still the best phone you can buy, regardless of price"

    "Best" is a highly context-dependent term. It may be the best phone for you. It's certainly not for me. I don't think it's even in the top 10. Regardless of price.

  37. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: How does having root

    "Give you "total control" over your computer?"

    Having root means that you can remove spying applications and system "services", and you can easily use strong firewalls, in addition to changing or replacing any part of the OS or supporting applications that you wish.

    "But it won't stop Google collecting data on you when you run Google Search or Google Maps."

    True. But it does let you remove those things entirely, which stops Google data collection through those apps.

    "You'd have to give up all their proprietary non open source apps if you want to avoid that."

    Absolutely true, and having root access is necessary in order to achieve that.

  38. JohnFen Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    I understand what you're saying, but I'm not really seeing how that adds up to rooting being a "dirty word".

    "many apps will refuse to work"

    Yes, which is a hand indicator that lets me avoid inadvertently supporting companies who take such unreasonable, anti-user stances.

    "some companies say rooting voids guarantee"

    Which, in my opinion, is actually understandable and not disparaging of root access.

  39. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Re: What I want (i.e. will pay for) in my smartphone OS

    I understand what you're saying, but I'm not really seeing how that adds up to rooting being a "dirty word".

    Well, I simply see having root access as belonging to me, as it's my device. I feel it's as natural as buying a house and not expecting the attic to be out of bounds.

    The fact many companies (and users) consider "having root access" to be dodgy is my point.

    "many apps will refuse to work"

    Yes, which is a hand indicator that lets me avoid inadvertently supporting companies who take such unreasonable, anti-user stances.

    I agree! I dumped netflix when they brought that in. I know they did it because of the media companies, but still, they are my only point of contact where I can make a protest. I could have jumped through hoops to get around it, but if I'm paying for a service that suddenly decides my TV is "not authorised" to receive said service, then said service is cancelled with extreme predudice.

    I've been lucky so far, but what happens if my bank, or any vital services follow the same path?

    My point, though, was therefore, these companies think root is a bad thing (otherwise "known as a dirty word")

    "some companies say rooting voids guarantee"

    Which, in my opinion, is actually understandable and not disparaging of root access.

    I'm not saying this in a sarcastic or insulting way, so bare with me:

    I consider a phone as a hardware device / computer. And that device runs software, like a desktop computer.

    If I tinker with the hardware on my desktop machine in a not-supported manner, than fair enough - if I screw up or delete the OS, then I'd expect to pay to have it fixed (if I was unable to do it myself). If I arse around with the software and there's an unrelated hardware failure, I expect the guarantee to still hold.

    The same with a phone - if a user fiddles using root, and causes a bootloop, they deserve to pay if they need it fixed.

    If simply having root means that if the cpu breaks for any unrelated reason, I no longer have a guarantee, then I don't feel that is right (and I'd fight my corner it if it came down to it)

    Cheers for the reply!

  40. Rich 2

    Tooooooo Slooooooooooooooow

    As you point out, when it comes to putting big biz in its place, the whole process is glacially slow. Why it (apparently) takes years to analyse a EULA or decide whether some blindingly obvious business practice is anticompetitive in a why that a blind man could see is completely beyond me.

    And then, when a decision is finally made (often years after is matters any more - aka, the MS anti-trust thing), big biz is allowed a couple of years to respond before even thinking about going to court (which takes years more).

    In the end, the whole thing is pointless

    Instead, there should be strict time limits (a bit like leaving the EU :-) ) - say 1 week to read a EULA, half an hour to decide is some activity is anticompetitive, and a couple of weeks grace for response until the fines kick-in. And a court date that is this-side of the next millennia. That way, this sort of crap could be sorted within a month and big biz might actually start taking notice

  41. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Re: Tooooooo Slooooooooooooooow

    Why it (apparently) takes years to analyse a EULA or decide whether some blindingly obvious business practice is anticompetitive in a why that a blind man could see is completely beyond me.

    It's par for the course for any cartel investigation: they all always take years. Things can go faster if the industry takes the lead and helps compile the dossier.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Tooooooo Slooooooooooooooow

    @Rich 2: I suspect the answer is somehow related to "lawyers". ;)

  43. tfewster Silver badge

    Re: Tooooooo Slooooooooooooooow

    As others have said - "It's complicated". But not completely pointless, as the alternative is to do nothing.

    It's clear that BigBiz just treats it as a cost of doing business, as they continue to milk it until fined, and even then ask for an extension to "fix" something they've had years of notice of. Expect to see bigger fines in future for "wilful contempt".

  44. James 51 Silver badge

    Apparently there is will be a pay for option on Sailfish 3. Will be looking forward to that for my Gemini. If it can run Android apk that will be a bonus.

  45. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Some change is inevitable

    Having achieved market dominance I suspect Google may well be more than happy to change some things, especially some of the exclusive licensing deals that it had with manufacturers. It will still be able to offer rebates for Android + Gapps. And it might even welcome the odd actively maintained fork, possibly even as a prelude to letting other people manage Android OS while it focuses on moving up the value chain with Play Services and, I suspect, a heap of Assistant-based stuff.

    Case might also set a precedent for Apple's ridiculous app restrictions. Why shouldn't people be able to have Chrome on IOS? Or, dare we wish, a different app store?

  46. DougS Silver badge

    Re: Some change is inevitable

    Why would it set a precedent? Apple doesn't have a dominant share in anything but "app stores used on iOS", which is not a relevant market when determining monopoly status by anyone's definition.

    The reason why they're going after Google is because it is the OS running on phones sold by 99% of the OEMs selling smartphones, while Apple's is on only one OEM's phones.

  47. Fred West
    FAIL

    Re: Some change is inevitable

    AHH, see what you did there, switch the metric to suit the argument.

    iOS still doesn't allow competition, alternative browsers, default URL handlers, or Siri replacement. Google allow ALL these things.....

  48. ratfox Silver badge

    Re: Some change is inevitable

    If I understand correctly, the correct argument as to why Apple hasn't been bothered is: Apple only limits choices on their own products.

    Apparently, you can put as many restrictions on your own products, even if this theoretically makes it more difficult for your products to be competitive. On the other hand, it's not allowed if you (Google) put restrictions on other people's (phone manufacturers) products (phones).

    Because Apple creates both the software and the hardware of the iPhone, there is no third party who is limited to what they can do.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Some change is inevitable

    And Google sell pixel phones. They do happen to allow anyone else to play too, in one of two ways

    1/ AOSP, you do whatever you want, no restrictions

    2/ play by their rules, and bundle Google play stuff

    Clearly 1/ costs Google slot of money, with no return revenue stream, but anyone is free to do so.

    What is happening here is EU saying they want 1/ AND 2/ which is clearly bullshit

  50. tom dial Silver badge

    Re: Some change is inevitable

    I believe the argument is that Apple do not have a monopoly on smart phones or smart phone operating systems or app stores; with around 80% market penetration for the OS, Google arguably does, so different standards apply. Google, like Apple, probably would not be in trouble if they only were doing the bundling and so on for the Pixel phones, which would be a comparable case to Apple.

    Google probably should simply drop the behaviors found objectionable, knowing that in the short run it will make little difference or none. My suspicion is that that is equally true going forward for as long as nobody delivers a replacement that is better at a lower cost to device manufacturers and carriers.

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