back to article US watchdog POKES STICK at Google's Android over rival-blocking allegations

Google's alleged blocking of rivals' apps and services on its Android phones and tablets has reportedly led to unwanted scrutiny from US regulators. Officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have apparently been poking around the ad giant’s mobile OS business. Representatives from the watchdog have – according to a …

  1. sabroni Silver badge
    Mushroom

    How dare you!

    Comparing the lovely Google with those bastards at Micro$haft!!!!

    1. Dr Stephen Jones

      Re: How dare you!

      The intellectuals have arrived.

      1. BillG Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: How dare you!

        The Bing Android app is terrific, and does many things better than Android. But for the longest time a search on Google Play would never show the Bing app in the search results, even though the app was definitely there. And for two years whenever you updated that app your Bing app desktop shortcut would mysteriously disappear.

        1. dogged

          Re: How dare you!

          > The Bing Android app is terrific

          You are going to get downvoted to buggery.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How dare you!

        You see the Joke icon? He didn't, if he is indeed being sarcastic, but on here, you never know.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: How dare you!

          Because everyone uses the joke icon when they're being sarcastic....

  2. RoninRodent
    Facepalm

    The Amazon app store sits alongside Google Play on my Android just fine. What is to stop Microsoft and others creating a competing store?

    Don't like Google Play? Fork the AOSP and put your own stuff in it. It isn't like MS doesn't have it's own handset business.

    MS and Nokia complained? Was that one exec complaining in different voices?

    1. Irongut

      Not entirely true. To use the Amazon app store you have to enable installation from untrusted sources complete with a security warning that you shouldn't do so. You have to enable that feature just to install the Amazon app store. I imagine that puts a lot of users off. It would be trivial for Google to give that feature a whitelist, perhaps with the Amazon store included by default, but they don't.

      I don't remember Windows telling you that using a browser other than IE would be a security risk or preventing you installing another browser.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > To use the Amazon app store you have to enable installation from untrusted sources

        Not if you are using an Amazon Fire or other Amazon device. And that is the point, anyone can make their own Android* and their own app store. Nokia did, several others in China have. Plus there are independent ones such as F-Droid. Google cannot know if they can be trusted or not, hence the user needs to confirm that they want to use a store that Google knows nothing about.

        > Windows telling you that using a browser other than IE would be a security risk or preventing you installing another browser.

        Maybe not, but it does pop-up a UAC.

        * they may not be able to use the Android name.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge

          Sorry, but Google is very much in the same position as Microsoft is.

          They basically don't make hardware, they just make software, and the software is tightly tied to their platforms. And yes, you can have AOSP, but if you go the other way you _can't_ ship google app store on _any_ of your devices, it's against the OEM agreement. It's all or nothing, both for the OEM and for the customer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You forget that MS specifically coded Windows to lie and tell users of DR-DOS that there was a software problem that could only be corrected by installing MS-DOS and that the DOS development team ran into this themselves when testing Windows because the Windows team didn't mention the secret handshake.

        How secret was this? It wasn't a check for the DOS version. It was a complex set of operations to alter program memory space to create a hidden check for the DOS version. VW's antics are puny compared to MS.

  3. Thomas 6

    I think it is a bit rich to accuse Google of these things. Whether they are 'guilty' or not, they are not even in the same league as Apple when it comes to blocking rivals.

    Google may have the numbers but Apple has the dollars.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      What makes you think that Google does not have...

      plenty of Friends in Washington DC

      IMHO Google probably spends more on Lobbyists than Apple (just a feeling)

    2. ratfox Silver badge

      Indeed

      Apple used to be able to say they are not dominant, and therefore do not need to give access to rivals.

      However, with iOS at 43% for Android's 52%, that is a defense they might not enjoy for long.

  4. Josh 14

    I'm still trying to figure out what app one of the competitors has that I would truly WANT to run and am being prevented from using.

    MS can keep Bing for all I care, I get enough spying from Google searches, and from Windows itself, I don't care to let MS know what I'm searching for when I'm away from my work windows machines.

    Amazon has an app store, but it's more of a marketing platform for their sales site than an app store, since the new "Underground" update recently.

    Firefox for Android runs a bit slow, but it's ok, I suppose... Oh, and it's not blocked either. Nor are Opera, or any number of other browsers.

    Also noteworthy is how little restriction there is on just what kinds of apps can be found on the Play store, unlike on Apple's App Store. Never mind how few even bother to program for the MS apps marketplace.

    All in all, sounds like sour grapes from competitors that aren't competitive.

    1. Sotorro
      Happy

      Stop MS spying on you

      3 options to stop Microsoft from spying on you

      1- bat file without blocking URL's or IP's: https://github.com/WindowsLies/BlockWindows/blob/master/BlockWindows.bat

      2- bat file including blocking all MS IP's that spy on you: http://pastebin.com/NfULK70L

      3- Install Linux, BSD etc and dump Windows

      :) which ever option you prefer the most

      1. Josh 14

        Re: Stop MS spying on you

        I typically run under option 3, at least at home.

        At work, I'm constrained by the corporate IT policies, and can't do squat other than run FireFox with No-Script, ABP, Privacy Badger, etc...

  5. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    Level Playing Field

    Despite our best efforts that "Level Playing Field" that all the regulatory chaps seem so intent on creating simple can't exist in our present dimension. I'm not even positive those 'Elysium Fields' would meet regulatory requirements.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Level Playing Field

      and so, we shouldn't speak up when people exploit other people?

  6. Your alien overlord - fear me

    With Android, you might not like the defult installed apps but you can in most cases get a better than Google one, either from the Play store or from the devs website (or XDA).

    Try that with Apple. Sewn up tighter than a Scotish gnat's ar$e when asked to buy a round.

  7. Ilgaz

    Google Play Services

    Thee fight will become serious once Google Play Services gets mentioned.

    1. JoeF

      Re: Google Play Services

      I can't use Android Pay on my perfectly legitimate Android phone, which is rooted and has AOSP-based CyanogenMod nightly builds on it.

      This is Google's app, installed from their Play Store, but it says it can't "verify that your device or the software running on it is Android compatible."

  8. DanielN

    The earlier Microsoft case was mostly harassment by jacked up government thugs. Bundling Internet Explorer did not kill Netscape. Netscape killed Netscape. Anyone with an Internet connection could install Netscape in just a few minutes, and then enjoy horrific levels of bugs and crashes. Netscape Navigator was so bad that they abandoned it and started over with a blank slate. (Which turned out to be a mistake. The old design could have been salvaged by pouring money into it, but Mozilla - later Firefox - had a difficult architecture and poor management.)

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > Bundling Internet Explorer did not kill Netscape.

      Maybe not, but it did kill Spyglass, the people that wrote IE. Microsoft agreed to pay Spyglass for writing IE with an amount for every copy of IE sold. Microsoft claimed that no copies were ever _sold_ (in spite of being part of the sale of Windows) so yet again a Microsoft 'partner' learns what partnership means.

      What did kill Netscape was Microsoft writing non-compatibilities into IE and, for example, Frontpage, so that viewing those pages was messed up in Netscape. Many corporates are still suffering by having to keep IE6 running when MS abandoned them.

      > then enjoy horrific levels of bugs and crashes.

      Probably caused by Windows detecting that Netscape was running.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At the time Netscape was OK. I don't recall crashes. What I do recall is MS shipping their browser with dll of an identical name with differing contents that conflicted with Netscape. Also Netscape was available for Unix, which IE never was.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > Also Netscape was available for Unix, which IE never was.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_for_UNIX

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