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

    1. 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!!!!!!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...

        1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
          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.

          1. 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...

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. 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.

              1. 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.

                1. 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.

                2. 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.

              2. 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?

                1. 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.

      2. 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

        1. 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.

          1. 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

  2. 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 ?

    1. 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"??

      1. 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!"

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

          2. 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.

            1. 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.

            2. 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.

              1. 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!

        2. 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.

      2. 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 ?

        1. 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.

    2. 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 ?

      1. 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.

      2. Loud Speaker

        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.

        1. 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)

          1. 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?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. 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...

          1. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. Ygvb

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

      You just want an Android phone, in short.

  3. 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

    1. 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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tooooooo Slooooooooooooooow

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

    3. 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".

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.....

        1. 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.

          1. 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

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Some change is inevitable

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

              Bullshit. EU is saying that Google is abusing their monopoly and you don't have any argument against that, but strawmen.

              Either they allow _everyone_ to Google Play or they are abusing the monopoly, it's simple as that. Rules for a monopoly are totally different and comparison to Apple is just stupid.

              Doesn't have to be very bright to see that Play is the way to keep the monopoly, the same way MS is using Office as a monopoly keeping vehicle.

        2. 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.

  6. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

    The Fuschia's so bright

    ...I gotta wear shades.

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: The Fuschia's so bright

      I just discovered I have the spelling wrong. It should be Fuchsia. From what I remember about etymology and elementary German, the name likely derives from someone called Fuchs and would more correctly be pronounced fooks-ya. Appropriate, no? Google are way ahead on their evil game plan, unfortunately.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: The Fuschia's so bright

        If Google drops Android and switches to Fuchsia, why would all the OEMs follow them? Some will, some won't, but I think we'd see a big split and the bulk of phones would remain Android since that's what people know.

        The lower end phones are sold on razor thin margins, so why would those OEMs want to switch to something else and increase cost/risk?

        Splitting your own market in half is one way to satisfy the authorities worried about lack of competition, though.

  7. David 138

    Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

    I want one that works. Lets not overlook the fact that Google forcing manufacturers to not fill phones with crapware has done wonders. I love my phone restoring in no time. I like consistency. Most variants are just abandon ware with a poor user experience at best, those that arn't such as FireOS should be.

    Android is now very popular because you know what you are getting when you buy it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

      "Android is now very popular because you know what you are getting when you buy it."

      Is it popular or just the thing you buy because it's the only thing you can buy?

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

        It's not the only thing you can buy, but the alternative puts you between a rock and a hard place.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

          It's not the only thing you can buy, but the alternative puts you between a rock and a hard place.

          Or at least between a brittle plastic case and the sharp edges of a shattered screen.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

        "Android is now very popular because you know what you are getting when you buy it."

        tracked, spied on and monetised?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

          "tracked, spied on and monetised?"

          Nope does NONE of these things. Ask a grown up to explain the difference between Android and the entirely optional Google Play Services. Whilst this grown up is at if, also ask them to explain the difference to Andrew Orlowski and the idiots in the EU that also clearly have comprehension problems.

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

            Ask a grown up to explain the difference between Android and the entirely optional Google Play Services

            Which the entire point of the ruling and this discussion, since you seem to have missed it while running around looking down your nose at eyeryone and dribbling from the brain.

            You can't easily <u>buy</u> a device that doesn't come with Google Play Services nor remove it from said device without replacing the entire O.S. with another version.

            Majority of the market in Android phones comes with bundled Google Play Services, and to most users they are ubiquitous, so I doubt I could find an average grown-up to tell me the difference, because to most, and many phone OEMs and Google they are synomymous.

            1. Daggerchild Silver badge

              Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

              Correct me if I'm wrong, but manufacturers actually already have the choice of shipping Android either with the whole Google Suite, or none of the Google Suite, and you're asking for the latter.

              Do you want Google to put into their Suite contract the stipulation that manufacturers must make a product without Suite? Otherwise, how exactly is it Google's fault that manufacturers aren't giving *easy* access to something nobody is asking them for?

              1. Loud Speaker

                Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

                You have completely lost the plot here: Google says "if you want to sell a phone with Google Apps, ALL your phones MUST have Google Apps" That is why there is a case against Google at all.<p>

                Yes, we do want Google to say "if you offer a phone with Android, you must offer the _same_ phone without Google apps". In fact, we want the EU to say "we are going to fine you $5B a minute if you don't". <p>

                The actual result was less impressive, but still much closer to what we want than the present situation. Unfortunately $5B once off is unlikely to be noticed by Google.

                1. Daggerchild Silver badge

                  Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

                  You have completely lost the plot here: Google says "if you want to sell a phone with Google Apps, ALL your phones MUST have Google Apps"

                  I know this breaks all the rules of Internet arguments to ask this but, are you sure what you just said is *actually* true?

                  I was specifically talking about the manufacturer making a vanilla Android, devoid of Google Apps. I think you're assuming they then install a competing App ecosystem which triggers the Anti-Frag Agreement bomb.

              2. regregular

                Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

                Devils in the details of licensing. If Sony made a single device that had Android minus Google Suite they would not get licenses for the Google Suite for ANY other phones (and possible would break existing licensing on other phones WITH the Suite).

                Any manufacturer with just one "free Android" phone in the lineup will be denied the Google Suite for all devices. And as we have seen, a phone / tablet without an App Store is quite useless to the general public (and it is called Fire).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

            "Nope does NONE of these things"

            How much Google is paying you to claim so when Android and any Google stuff do that and all of those are heavily documented too?

            In your own world where Google still 'does no evil'?

            While in real world, where the rest of us live, it's getting as evil as Microsoft in its heydays.

      3. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

        "Is it popular or just the thing you buy because it's the only thing you can buy?"

        It's a fair question, but is it Google's malicious fault the Public don't want to buy a Lumia or a Blackberry? My Lumia was quite passable when it wasn't spontaneously rebooting or spinning on the CPU in the background burning the battery.

      4. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Look at all those wonderful alternatives insight.....Oh wait

        "Is it popular or just the thing you buy because it's the only thing you can buy?"

        That implies you MUST buy something, or are we pretty much in Walking on the Sun territory now?

  8. Craigie

    competing products and services beyond Google Maps, Google Play Store and Google Search

    good luck with that, unless you have a spare few billion lying around to develop alternatives and attract developers to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: competing products and services beyond Google Maps, Google Play Store and Google Search

      Google Maps has plenty of alternatives....

      But if it has no real competitors, what's the need to force them onto any mobe?

      Or the reason is exactly to avoid any competition becomes viable?

    2. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: competing products and services beyond Google Maps, Google Play Store and Google Search

      Google search and Google Maps are not quasi monopolies everywhere. In some countries, like Japan, South Korea and Russia, they are second fiddles.

      One of the point is the ruling is that manufacturers should be allowed to make phones with, say, the Google Play store, Here maps (or Open Street maps), and Yandex. Without Google maps, without Chrome, without Google search. Up to now, they couldn't, Because in order to have the Play store, they had to include Chrome and Google search (and possibly Google Maps).

  9. VooDooMonkey

    Another Appstore?

    Blackberry and Microsoft both found it nigh on impossible to get app developers to develop for their respective platforms, I don't see how anyone else is going to fair any better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another Appstore?

      Microsoft burned platforms so quickly it was hard for any developers not to get burnt.

      The problem was that changing dev tools each year under Windows (hey, buy C, no, VB, buy .NET, it's new!, wait, it's Silverlight now, buy it, sorry, now it's C++, buy the latest VS!) didn't impact much, because Windows installed base, backward compatibility, third party products and the dominance of Win32 APIs meant the damage was limited to the morons who went after each MS novelty.

      But it backfired in a big way on mobes where there was no backward compatibility, and they had 3% ot the market at best. You can't piss off developers in that situation.

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: Another Appstore?

        You can't piss off developers in that situation.

        Speaking as a developer, they DID piss me off this way!

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Another Appstore?

      "I don't see how anyone else is going to fair any better."

      Microsoft and Blackberry were not able to provide a reason to develop for their platforms that outweighed the downsides of developing for their platforms. I don't think their failure is in any way indicative that it can't be done.

    3. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Another Appstore?

      Actually, one of the explicit points of the ruling is that manufacturers should be allowed to have the Google Play store on their phone without Google telling them what they're allowed and not allowed to do.

      So yeah, the Google Play store is a must on Android phones, but that shouldn't give Google the right to dictate anything.

  10. GnuTzu Bronze badge
    Flame

    "Two choices"

    Like dumb and dumber. I hate having only two choices.

    I would have voted against this whole two-faced system, but then centrists have no direct representation in a political duocracy--and they seem determined to justify their illegitimate control by paring all our choices down to duopolies.

    1. Joe Gurman

      Re: "Two choices"

      s the article pointed out, you (in theory) had a lot more than two choices, but was there anything compelling enough about Windows Phone or Lineage OS or any of the smaller efforts to make them likely, under any conditions, able to achieve significant sales? This is what Americans find strange about EU competition regulations: basing enforcement actions on mere hypotheticals, rather than actual market conditions. Or in other words, there's really no point in trying to protect the consumers against their own decisions, no matter how dim.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        'trying to protect the consumers against their own decisions'

        It's not that the aim - the aim is to avoid the market becomes blocked into a sclerotic situation, where any kind of new competition is impossible. Probably the experience with state monopolies in many EU countries taught what it means.

        'Consumers' are not the only issue, and that's the big US mistake. You have to take into account jobs, supply chains, (more competition usually means more jobs', and paid better and more supplier involved), even tax revenues (more companies may mean more taxes than a single behemoth able to dodge them more...)

  11. Alan Brown Silver badge

    I'd settle for

    1: Being able to root my device and not having the manufacturer claim the warranty is void (Isn't this illegal under EU law anyway?)

    2: Not having Google _unilaterally_ decide that I can no longer record my own calls because of some legislator in bumfuck Idaho. (Which is not in the EU, not even applicable to interstate US calls)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I'd settle for

      1. No, because they can claim tampering with a pristine environment, like the "Warranty VOID if removed" sticker.

      2. Find another law that REQUIRES recording (say for business liability reasons) and challenge them with a threat to take ig to court, especially federal court which tends to set a higher standarf.

  12. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    Not a winnable game

    If the EU WERE able to bring effective enforcement within ninety days, how long would it take before they were enforcing rules that you personally found objectionable? (As an American, I'm guessing ninety days.)

    Big government is just as bad as big corp, probably worse. Keep both small-ish for best chance of a decent outcome.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Not a winnable game

      Question. How do you keep one small without having the other big enough to force the issue?

      1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

        Re: Not a winnable game

        Not a quittable game, either. :(

  13. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Just do a Brexit!

    I'm trying to work out if Brussels actually understand what it is they're asking for. An armoured OS and API that is destined to become the most attacked platform on the planet, from inside and out, is not a thing that 'simply' comes about. It is in fact a continual living war against every commercial hacker on the planet.

    Being invited to walk newly-naked into this hellstorm in the name of healthy competition will not get the reaction they expect. For the Public, watching new competitors getting mugged by things used to hunting Google, will not persuade anyone to leave Google's walls either.

    Are they expecting Google to port their Appstore to Android forks? Do they understand that the trunk is in fact part of the security tree? Sure, you can chop the top off, and it might regrow, or be graftable, but if you chop the bottom off... not so much.

  14. ecarlseen

    And the alternatives are?

    Let me start out by saying that I am the first person to want more alternatives to IOS and Android. I use IOS, but I understand that other people have different priorities and preferences that put them in the Android camp.

    That being said... what alternatives exist right now? Tizen is a complete dumpster fire. Microsoft had a semi-decent mobile OS, but they've so thoroughly trashed their reputation / burnt all their bridges with a decade-plus of flailing about with different mobile strategies, each incompatible with the last, that it's a really tough sell to get anyone to develop for them. Blackberry had some good ideas and then cratered.

    So the question is, where will an alternative come from? To develop and build a flagship-class smartphone and OS, market it, and lure enough developers to have momentum is a 10-figure problem (dollars or Euros). Who has that kind of money? Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Facebook all come to mind. Facebook won't do it because it would mean burning bridges with Apple and Google. Microsoft has a reputation problem. Samsung hasn't shown a lot of competence. Amazon is an interesting dark horse. But really, who else has the expertise to do this and a few billion currency units burning a hole in their pockets?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: And the alternatives are?

      "Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Facebook all come to mind."

      None of whom I trust any more than Google.

  15. DCFusor Silver badge
    FAIL

    Inevitable

    And not fair to anyone. So, you fine Google (who I'm not defending here - replace with any $InternationalBigCorp) - and guess what - if the EU doesn't like what they do, justified or not - or for that matter the dictator of any other market and fines BigCorp - customers around the world pay, corps never pay their fines, their cost of doing business just gets rolled into the next billings of we customers - one way or another and there are no exceptions ever in all of history, time and place.

    So, "the starving children of Africa" or some other meme - pay for the EU (this time it's the EU, anyway) "helping" the people of the EU - but at _everyone's_ expense, including the entire rest of the planet.

    Yes, you could say they are helping us all, but for one thing, the rest of us aren't getting a part of the $5 billion, some people = those starving kids - had nothing to lose having their data slurped (there is none worth it) and in general, are better at sideloading what they want anyway.

    So, net result, EU grabs some bucks, gives even EU citizens zero refund on their taxes, expects the world to pay for their take on morality (right or wrong, it's the idea that one gov can dictate to the rest of the world I object to here), and feels smug about it.

    Even being on the other side of the political spectrum, I could quote Victoria Nuland in here comment about the EU.

    Clearly some solution needs to be found to dealing with outfits bigger than petty parochial governments, all of whom seem to think that they speak for the entire world and we should all be beholden to those we never had any choice about that. Oh, wait, that's how would-be world conquering dictators act - I won't use the N word (the German one).

    Not even defending the US here - think about the US trying to do what they did to DVD Jon - or Kim Dotcom - or Julian Assange - agree with whoever you like, but I think overreach is bad no matter who does it.

    If you want to be all nationalist, then stay in your own damn country with that crap.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inevitable

      "Yes, you could say they are helping us all, but for one thing, the rest of us aren't getting a part of the $5 billion,"

      Semi-false. That money goes to EU budget and therefore the countries has to pay less to EU and so every tax payer gets their share of that. Not much of course but it doesn't just vanish.

  16. hellwig Silver badge
    Linux

    The EU just doesn't get it

    Google: Here is our Android OS, prepackaged for a phone, with our services.

    OEM: We don't want your services.

    Google: Android is open-source, feel free to package it however you like.

    OEM: But our customers don't want that, they want your services.

    <repeat>

    The EU regulators see this, and somehow blame Google.

    So Apple is not an issue here because they don't let anyone else use their OS? So Google took Linux, an open source OS, and made it into Android. Being Linux based, they could NOT close the source that they took. But, because that source is open, Google is not allowed to profit from their efforts to modify the source? Even though it's technically not their source originally?

    How is what Google does any different from what Canonical or Redhat do? Heck, Apple took BSD for OSX, aren't they also treading a very fine line here?

    Ultimately, isn't Linus Torvalds to blame here?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The EU just doesn't get it

      The commenter just doesn't get it, at all.

      "Google: Here is our Android OS, prepackaged for a phone, with our services. And if you try to make/sell _anything_, even one phone, with something else, you can't have anything from us, ever"

      So the buyer doesn't want shit like that, so they can't have any Google services and thus won't sell many phones either: Bulk of users want _some_ Google services. But there's no choice at all: All or nothing.

      Which part of "abusing the monopoly" goes beyond the comprehension capability of the commenter?

      1. hellwig Silver badge

        Re: The EU just doesn't get it

        WHY would Google HAVE to give people Al-La-Carte access to THEIR services? That would be like going into a restaurant, ordering a full meal, replacing sides, removing items, and DEMANDING the restaurant price your meal accordingly. It's NOT worth the restaurants time to cater to individuals like that.

        The EU whines and complains because Google releases "Google Android" with Google services bundled in. Unlike Windows, which is a proprietary OS, ANYONE can release their own Android, and Google is under NO OBLIGATION to support their services on those OSes.

        Customer's have been given a choice, use Google's OS as-is or find something else to use. It's not Google's fault no one else even tries to release an OS. And if the argument of the article was that in the US, Google can point to Apple and say "see, there's competition", and that it's different in the EU, then WHY is Apple NEVER mentioned in these judgements or penalized themselves? Apple has a history of restricting user choice and often replacing third-party apps with their own in-built services and then BANNING the third party apps from their app store. But the EU NEVER passes judgement on those actions, why?

        What is Google doing different that Apple isn't? Or that Samsung, Nokia, Motorolla never did BEFORE Android?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: The EU just doesn't get it

          "WHY would Google HAVE to give people Al-La-Carte access to THEIR services? That would be like going into a restaurant, ordering a full meal, replacing sides, removing items, and DEMANDING the restaurant price your meal accordingly. It's NOT worth the restaurants time to cater to individuals like that."

          Fuuny, I'm able to do that all the time. Normally, though, there's what's called an "upcharge".

          "Customer's have been given a choice, use Google's OS as-is or find something else to use."

          It's not that. Google's crimping the phone manufacturers by forcing a Hobson's Choice. Either release ALL phones with Google Suite...or NONE. No phone manufacturer I know can do half-and-half, and that's where the EU is crying foul: using their business (bundled phones) to intrude into stuff that isn't their business (UNbuncled phones). It's similar to Microsoft's sweetheart deal with OEMs: getting discounts per copy of Windows provided ALL their computers have Windows pre-installed on them.

          Apple isn't the dominant phone manufacturer, PLUS they're a FIRST party with considerable vertical integration (Apple doesn't just make the OS, they make the phone design as well as their own ARM-licensed CPUs). What they do with THEIR OWN stuff is usually their business, but last I checked, Google doesn't own LG, Samsung, etc.

  17. Ygvb

    Magic

    EU is magic. They got both the problem and the solution completely wrong.

    Epic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Magic

      The problem is obvious to anyone who isn't totally blind: Abuse of monopoly. Commenter chooses not to see, that's epic.

      Solution is debatable but usually money is the ultimate whip: Fine enough and even monopoly changes their ways.

      By no means 4% from revenue fine is a one-time penalty. Make it monthly until illegal parts are changed and even Google starts to think.

      1. hellwig Silver badge

        Re: Magic

        More AC EU apologists who don't understand what it means to abuse a monopoly.

        And WHICH monopoly are you talking about here? Which Google services are OK and which are big and bad and scary and evil?

        If Google made the phones, and then only allowed their own OS and then only allowed apps that they hand-picked and scrutinized developed only by people who PAID them the privilege for doing so, well, then they'd be Apple wouldn't they?

        Google develops Google Android. People WANT that OS, that doesn't make it a monopoly. The phone manufacturers CHOOSE to put the OS on their phones. That is NOT Google's doing. Any OEM could make their own OS (they could even fork Android if they wanted) and put that on a phone.

        The CUSTOMERS are the ones who want Google. If the CUSTOMERS are making the choice to use Google's Android, that is NOT a monopoly, that's a successful product.

        Where is the abuse of Monopoly? If you go into McDonalds and try to order a Whopper and they refuse to make one, does that mean McDonalds is abusing their monopoly, or does that mean you walked into the wrong damn restaurant and it's your own fault?

  18. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Release the draxen

    The forked OS should have the power of Android and the mutability of Linux. And the other way around. I nominate the name Anthrax . Powerful, and dangerous.

  19. croc

    I would much rather that the EU take on the OEM's locking some 'features' down to the users' detriment - Samsung, and its Facebook lockdown as an instance.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      You could always just switch to LG, so that's not as big an issue. It would help, though, that apps locked onto a phone (due to say Facebook PAYING to get them on) should force a tag on each ad for the phone: "This phone is sponsored in part by Facebook." At least make it clear who's backing the phone and attaching strings.

  20. regregular

    The ruling doesn't attack Android in itself, nor does it "demand" the mother of all fork fragmentations.

    It ciriticized a few points, changing those is very much in the realm of the possible.

    a) Google as the default search provider.

    b) Chrome as the default browser.

    Both have no easy, well integrated ways of being switched for, say Opera and Bing or Firefox and DuckDuckGo. The EU took the very same offense with Microsoft, ruling that the deep integration of Internet Explorer sucks and consumers should have an easier choice of browser. Mind you, that was when getting rid of the "IE standard browser designation" required regedit.

    The ciriticism of the app store integration is indeed flimsy, I guess they thought three is better than two and didn't think the implications of that through (patching vulnerabilties in system components makes the device safer, etc)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too little to make them notice, too late to have an impact

    Back when MS was still trying to be in the market you had a chance to impact things. Why? Not because everyone loves MS but really because that was the chance to have a well funded set of devices that would work steadily to make things at least a 3 way match up. Ideally you might have seen Tizen and Amazon make a go at mobile devices and then things would have started to get warm. But Google has been steadily buying up all the "assets" that make the mobile world tick. Apple saw the strategy and had the pockets to play the game too, but they've been less successful in that front but very successful on the media front, so it's been "ok" for them. But Android has been more successful and it's because of the resources. Resources are prestigiously desired items, a highly profiled mapping system, videos and images from a high profile source, search engine and so forth. Denying another platform access to these services is the fundamental "on/off" switch to the market. It is akin to a small cell provider not being given access to the towers of one of the national giants. You kill the product by choking it off. Remember when Google threatened to remove maps from Apple? It's things like that where you see the power dealt. Margins on devices are very thin. Services makes the money and volumes covers the devices. If you don't have volumes or services it becomes a losing proposition until you grow. Choke a small platform from growing and the game is over. The best chances lie with starting platforms from a well funded corp that can lose money and stay in it for the long haul. Google and Apple know that very well. You can count the corpses of failed ideas. MS figured they already had good services revenue, why bother losing those funds pushing devices when both carriers and giants like Apple and Google were happily trying to kill their product. At this point you have two monsters with huge sums of cash that have successfully killed off a product funded by pockets as deep as MS and Samsung (Tizen isn't doing well). This may well be past stoppable. But if the market regulators care to see it changed, which I doubt, then they had better put a leash on the giants (carriers included as VZ and Samsung are best buddies) soon or the barriers to new ideas will be so gigantic you'll never see anything new in the market ever again.

  22. jamesisinspain

    chrome

    All the Android phones I have had only came with the android browser . I have always had to specifically hunt down or download the chrome browser.

  23. mtnz

    I choose Google

    I bought a Meizu phone which runs the Flyme version of Android 6. It arrived totally Google free which I promptly remedied because the Google eco-system works so well. The Flyme OS came with everything you need, but I choose Google and I think that will also still be the choice of many when offered an alternative because of its rich user experience.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019