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. 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.

    1. sed gawk

      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.

    2. 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).

  1. 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 Silver badge

        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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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~

  6. 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.

  7. FozzyBear Silver badge

    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.

  8. 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".

  9. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    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.

  10. joekhul

    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

  11. Claptrap314 Bronze 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.

  12. 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.

  13. joekhul

    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 Bronze 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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