back to article On Android, US antitrust can go where nervous EU fears to tread

Europe's Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, faced two very different questions from the media after announcing a record fine for Google last week. One asked the experienced former Danish deputy PM if this wasn't just sour grapes in retaliation for Donald Trump's trade war. Another demanded to know why she wasn't …

  1. ratfox Silver badge


    It seems you can hardly expect US federal regulators to do anything about big corporations these days. If anything, they seem to be concentrating on preventing state regulators from acting on their own.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Optimistic

      It seems you can hardly expect US federal regulators to do anything about big corporations these days

      Of course they'll do something - they'll make lots of noise and huff and puff until the usual brown envelopes and/or quiet promises of future lucrative non-executive posts/political bribes are given.

      At which point, victory will be announced along with a purely cosmetic press release from the company concerned that basically says "we've learnt our lesson, we'll be good now. Honest guv'.

      Nothing else will change other than some regulators will get richer.

  2. stephanh Silver badge

    Breaking up AT&T worked so well it's bigger than before the breakup.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Breaking up AT&T worked so well

      But no longer has a nationwide monopoly on telephone service (or cellular telephone service, or internet service, or TV)

      The only remaining monopoly it has is on landline telephone service for a good chunk of the US, but a monopoly on landline service isn't exactly a valuable asset in 2018. So even though some of the former Baby Bells ended up coming back together under AT&T and Verizon, the breakup did what it was intended to do. It created competition in the telephone market.

      Had that breakup not happened, it wouldn't have been until the rise of reasonably priced nationwide cellular service that could widely replace landline service - a decade ago at best - that consumers would have a way out from under their thumb. And that assumes they wouldn't have set up roadblocks preventing cellular operators from connecting to the PSTN. Ditto for businesses trying to escape via VOIP.

      The breakup of Baby Bells was probably pointless, the big one was unbundling long distance service.

  3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    The problem I have with much of this is that Google succeeded in one of the areas I found most irritating about the early smartphone environment.

    Back in the day, the software you received on your (non-Apple) smartphone was dependent on the mobile network you subscribed to. The amount of bloat pre-installed was phenomenal, with the network's own apps being both inferior to other offerings and difficult to remove (i.e. you had to root). When combined with the phone manufacturer's own services, on top of Googles, you had a complete mess. I spent a lot of time back then installing custom ROMs to get back to a more pure Android experience.

    By requiring a consistent approach, Google has just about fixed this. OK, they may have gone too far (i.e. not allowing use of forks of Android alongside Googley Android, and moving far too much into Play Services etc rather than being in Android, crippling non-Googley Droids), but I prefer the current state of play to that of a decade ago.

    1. AndyS

      I completely agree that the current state is pretty good as far as the consumer's perspective. But it's a dilemma, as it has been done that way at the cost of competition and choice. Maybe it could be better if there was real competition? Or maybe the manufacturers and carriers would completely balls it up again? I guess the latter is more likely, to be honest.

      Take a political example - it's incredible what China has achieved in a single generation. Reduction in poverty, increased living standards, higher quality employment, greener energy... All through massively controlled, centralised government and almost complete lack of individual choice / human rights. It may be impressive, but I wouldn't want to be part of it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Take a political example - it's incredible what China has achieved in a single generation. Reduction in poverty, increased living standards, higher quality employment, greener energy

        People say the same about the UK when they've only ever visited the nice bits of London.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          wait ..

          London has nice bits?

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: wait ..

            Some nice digs at SW1A 1AA..

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: wait ..

            London has nice bits?

            Sure. In the north..

            In da sarf, not so much.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There are areas where competition can't work - eBay for example, is untouchable because buyers want the biggest range and sellers want to reach the most buyers - it's a virtuous circle as far as eBay is concerned.

        It was the case that operating systems worked the same, from games in the Amiga but not the PC, to CAD software on PC but not Mac. A new OS would be at a disadvantage because it lacked the critical mass of software. This isn't insurmountable though - there are approaches like WINE or Blackberry's just in time shimming to run Android apps on BB 10. And then there's developer tools that allow software to be written for multiple platforms without too much hassle. However, faff and uncertainty accumulate in the consumers mind.

        1. Citizen99

          ... QUOTE

          This isn't insurmountable though - there are approaches like WINE or Blackberry's just in time shimming to run Android apps on BB 10.

          /QUOTE ...

          If only :( . As BB10 was when Blackberry abandoned it, it could only run a few Android apps, whether natively or 'shimmed' as the case might be.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AndyS "I completely agree that the current state is pretty good as far as the consumer's perspective."

        Are you talking about Android? You know the phone that tracks eveything you do and lets developers do the same. The one that comes with tonnes of shite you can't remove and tries to copy all your data to Google's servers whatever the "owner" of the phone wants. The permanent warning "App permission management is running" to put off users trying to control the abuse of personal data. You Sir are a pillock, Just like the President. I curse you to have to use Andriod for the rest of your life.

        1. AndyS

          > You Sir are a pillock, Just like the President

          Leaving aside the rest of your drivel, you see the little "" bit at the end of this site's address? Sod off. We haven't got a President.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Some of your other points are valid, but you're totally arse-over-tit with this one:

          The permanent warning "App permission management is running" to put off users trying to control the abuse of personal data.

          Permission Management is in 5.1 - it's purpose is to actively *block* access by apps. When a running app. attempts to use a potential privacy-abusing function, "app permission management" is what pops up the allow/deny dialogue before the app. can proceed.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Permission Management is in 5.1 - it's purpose is to actively *block* access by apps.

            Agreed. PM is Google trying to improve the badly-broken permission system from earlier Android. It may not be perfect, but at least it's an attempt.

            I don't agree that Android consumers have it good - I find Android the least-bad of various fairly dreadful options, and still highly inferior to Symbian. (Sure, it's entertaining to open a "terminal" window on my phone and muck about in a shell with Busybox-supplied utilities, but not really very useful.)

            Google and the manufacturers still load phones up with shovelware that users can't get rid of or easily disable, and personally I don't find the Google offerings better than what was available on my old Symbian phone. (The AT&T navigation app that came on my Nokia whatever-it-was years ago was superior to GMaps now, particularly for turn-by-turn spoken directions.)

            But OP's anti-Android rant was rather an incoherent mess.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              I don't agree that Android consumers have it good - I find Android the least-bad of various fairly dreadful options, and still highly inferior to Symbian. (Sure, it's entertaining to open a "terminal" window on my phone and muck about in a shell with Busybox-supplied utilities, but not really very useful.)

              I'm going to appear like a bit of a contradiction now when I say that I recently bought a 'new' old-nokia as my replacement phone, because I didn't want to have a phone depending on the android or apple bullshit.

              At the same time, I generally use Android on my my desktop (as I am currently!) [ Current Desktop ]

      4. The Real SteveP

        There IS competition - Apple - who like Google have a semi-monopoly and initially force their users to use THEIR browser etc. So why aren't Apple being castigated in the same way, either by the EU or the USA? In terms of control and forcing users down their path, Apple is just as bad as Google, and I hate both of them.

        1. Graham Cobb


          So why aren't Apple being castigated in the same way, either by the EU or the USA?

          Apple doesn't have significant market power in the mobile phone OS business. They only have about 15-20% share (by units).

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "Another demanded to know why she wasn't requiring Google to be broken up."

    And how could the EU do that if Google isn't based in the EU? The best that's going to happen is fines and remedies like the ones given out.

  5. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The latter is particularly crippling – so many apps and other services depend on an accurate location fix.

    All I see location, where it find that out, being used for is trying to convince you to sign up for or got to some site to read about 'one simple' trick that hundreds of millionaires in your one horse neighbourhood want banned. I'm sure this has to sound more effective if you live in some Capitol City or XX in Tri City Area in the US, but it sounds like the babbling result of a brain injury over here.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      And then in non-English-speaking countries, the babble gets put through Google translate first. Presumably some idiot somewhere clicks on it though, otherwise they wouldn't do it.

      1. HolySchmoley

        "Presumably some idiot somewhere clicks on it though, otherwise they wouldn't do it."

        No. Because advertisers are persuaded that they do. Whether they click and whether they buy has little importance.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Yeah, but if it wasn't for location info., how else would I know that 10 horny babes within 2 miles of my home want to hook up with me?

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        It also makes marketing bridges to prospective buyers who actually live near them so much easier...

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      The only thing I've ever found "location services" to be useful for is navigation, and potentially for finding my phone if I lost it. I'd like to disable it for everything else, and indeed I have it turned off (for whatever good that does) most of the time.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some of these wander into absurdist territory. "A stable and unforked Android is the ONLY hope for cheap smartphones," claimed Paul MacDonnell, of the Global Digital Foundation, which Google helps fund.

    That might be news to over 600 million Chinese. In China – where Google doesn't operate the horizontal platform+services monopoly – forks proliferate, and the result? There's more variety of cheaper smartphones than anywhere in the world.

    The result is rampant app piracy through use of shady third-party app stores, resulting in epidemic scale mobile malware outbreaks. I doubt the lack of a Google "monopoly" has any effect on the cost of smartphones in China, but the lack of access to the play store for many users certainly has an effect.

    Of course Google doesn't have an actual monopoly anywhere. What the EU fails to get its head round is that Google's competitors are Facebook, Amazon, etc, not other mobile OS makers. I'm finding it harder and harder to remember why I voted "remain".

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Google's competitors include Facebook, but you seem to have left out a major competitor: Apple.

      Apple may not be operating on the same commercial model as Google, but every customer Apple draws into the iOS ecosystem is a pair of eyeballs that will spend less time providing Google with profiling information on Android.

      This competition for audience is similar to how the BBC and ITV compete in the UK television market despite BBC not carrying advertising*

      You can have a monopoly even with if it looks like there's competition: taking the TV analogy, ITV used to have a monopoly on all television advertising in the UK, despite having a non-monopoly 40-60% of the television audience. That was a bad situation for advertisers, and for viewers, and it was changed as a result.

      Google has a monopoly on app distribution for Android and it uses it to make device manufacturers use Google's other services, even where better products exist. Apple has a similar monopoly on iOS, but Apple skirts the anti-trust issue because it doesn't sell iOS to other manufacturers. (For what it's worth, I think Apple engages in anti-trust activity too, in a different way, but we're talking particularly about Google and Android).

      The central issue with Android is that it's not a negotiable product. Lets' imagine that TomTom or Garmin wants to make a phone. They are navigation specialists, so would prefer to keep their navigation application as the default navigation service: that is the competitive advantage they're offering (but of course customers would still free to chose Google maps or another product if they want to). This reasonable proposition is not permitted by Google, because in order to use any of the Google applications, you must use all of them, and they must be defaults, and this condition cannot be negotiated. You cannot give Google more money for an Android license to gain the flexibility - Google uses the Play App-store to bully you into ceding every other aspect of the platform to them too.

      That's called "Bundling". It was the core complaint in United States versus Microsoft, and it's still illegal today.

      ( * yes, many independent programmes commissioned by the BBC contain shadily-financed soft product placements that they really shouldn't, and yes, the BBC sells tie-in merchandise for its programming, but the point still stands because ITV output has those same options, plus direct advertising to viewers)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The breaking up of Microsoft...

    ... Surely, that must have happened before the Obama administration? Because I simply can't remember when it did.

    More seriously, the article overall makes some very good & valid points, but the assumption that Republicans are somehow more "pro-market" than Democrats, and will therefore be tougher than the EU, that is rather curious. I can't remember any 1 billion USD fine imposed on Microsoft during the 8 years of the Bush presidency.

    The breakup of AT&T is an interesting reference, but a quick read on Wikipedia added some important nuance: it took about 10 years - including a full 4 years of a Democrat president, and it was, wait for it, AT&T's own idea to reach a settlement rather than lose the suit. Others have already pointed out how more than half of the Baby Bells have been acquired back by AT&T.

    I quite expect the EU will do better than that.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: The breaking up of Microsoft...

      The break up of Bell was made along regional lines instead of separating the network and creating competing companies to resell access. They just created local monopolies, and of course the richer one could buy back later the others.

      It was like breaking Google, say, in Google America, Google Europe, etc.

      It should be split separating the ads business from the others.

      But I can't see anyone today applying so extreme remedies - for fear of job losses, and especially, shareholders ones - on both side of the Atlantic. US neo-protectionism will protect Google as well.

      But Microsoft was also forced to document protocols and file formats for interoperability - which boosted competition.

      Of course a mobile OS and its application have different needs, but something like that should be though of, to reduce the reliance of Android on proprietary Google services and applications.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Would separating the ads business really work?

        Let's say Google was broken up between Google Search/Ads and Google Everything Else.

        So Google Everything Else has Android and wants to monetize it. Who is going to have the deep pockets to pay them to put in their search? There's only one real competitor left, and it is owned by another monopoly. Who has the biggest ad business that's got the best targeting? Google has already grown so dominant it is hard to see how it could be feasibly broken up in a way that would create new competition that doesn't exist today.

        It would be like breaking up Amazon, do you force it to separate along product lines, thereby creating multiple monopolies in various product families? Do you break out AWS, and if you do what exactly does that accomplish that makes it easier for others to compete in selling books, streaming music or auto parts online? How does it improve the competitive position of Google or Microsoft's cloud (and is weakening one monopoly only to strength another even worth the effort?)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "was broken up between Google Search/Ads and Google Everything Else."

          It would be the wrong way to split it. You have to separate the ads business from *everything else*, especially Search. which is still the biggest reason to use Google.

          So different ads business could buy access to Search, for example, but none of them would have access to the vast trove of data gathered through Search (especially if strong privacy laws are enforced...)

          If you split AWS from Amazon retail, how long Amazon could keep minimal margin on the products it sells, especially if many tax loopholes get closed?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Would separating the ads business really work?

          "Let's say Google was broken up between Google Search/Ads and Google Everything Else.

          So Google Everything Else has Android and wants to monetize it. "

          This is exactly what 'abuse of monopoly power' looks like.

          Competition in the smartphone OS market is killed because no-one else can ever create a viable competitor because they can't monetize it.

          Google used their monopoly in search to gain a monopoly in mobile phone OS.

          And so it goes, on and on. Google insists on pre-installing search and maps and play store to anyone who wants to sell Android phones. No one can make a commercial alternative, so they give in and do it.

          So now Google has 'insights' into every user of the vast majority of smartphones. They have your browsing history, your location, your contacts, your commute details, your purchase history (via Google pay, if you're silly enough to use that). OK, they now claim they don't explicitly read your emails (and perhaps that might even be true), but they'll sell that right to others.

          Google has a monopoly, and yes, it is abusing that power.

  8. Richard Jones 1

    I Want Something That Just Works

    I have no interest in failed companies that could not foist their junkware onto the public. I tried 'Can't find em' - once, was it a lame attempt at a frustration game? Was it better on an Apple?

    My wife wants a new mobile, sure she would like one without the usual load of OEM crapware, Backsidebook, LinkedSomewhere and so on; all just junk. A good, compatible web access method is probably essential without having to go on a treasure hunt to find one - I know who my wife's 'treasure hunter' will end up being.

    I have no problem with Google Mail, and I believe it backs up to Google somehow though I never use the mobile for sending mails: mail on a mobile is strictly for masochists., I use voice to text sometimes though hands free calling is inferior to Nokia circa 2007. I don't give a flying fig for most 'apps', I use Google Maps, there are no mystery tours. I have Word, which I never use, the BBC which I rarely use and one left over from my experimental use of a PAYG network. The mobile does waste time updating such as unwanted guests like Hangups(?), Bizarre keyboards, and 'Play this that and the other', they are barred web access anyway.

    The EU are offering me an inferior future I do not want, but might have to suffer.

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: I Want Something That Just Works

      Well thank you to the four selfish types who wish to deny me an easy road to something that works because they like the rough with the rough. I not care about apps collecting whatever, since I did read the list of access demands they made and that was the end of that them, the apps became toast. So what that Google knows where I have been, so do the doctors, hospitals, supermarkets filling stations and so on that I use. The mobile is also my travel diary. I do not give a rats arse about Facebook, Linkedin or any of the antisocial dross that some infect phones with, clear that plague out by all means, and deny them the accesses they demand to private information if you must use them, but allow me a working mobile experience 'out of the box' (along with the ability to update the OS as promised Motorola). Though I will never put anything of value on the dumb mobile.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: I Want Something That Just Works

        "Well thank you to the four selfish types who wish to deny me an easy road to..."

        Now it's FIVE selfish types, counting myself!

        Reason: A monopolistic OS that is very insecure and very difficult/impossible to make secure by design!!!...

        ... hoisted upon us by Google with the invaluable support of people like you, who "Want Something That Just Works" at any cost. Even if that something often doesn't work!!!

        Edit: SIX selfish types now! 8^)

        1. Richard Jones 1

          Re: I Want Something That Just Works

          OK in am not in your paranoia club however many of them there are, I still want a mobile that just works. You want MY choice to be either the unaffordable daft touchy feely Apple rubbish because it is some allegedly secure - (against what?) or something that I must spend hours rendering into something useful so you can feed your doubts and worries. Exactly how does the alleged 'insecure by design' affect me? I know my credit card s is be tracked, my car is be tracked, most of the places I visit record my entry, my business and exit time and I do not care.

          I would be far more affected by a search engine that fail to find anything useful. By cost structures that balloon to apple like dimensions and still prevent anything useful for me. Still I guess there are still a few of those nice red phone boxes available somewhere.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I Want Something That Just Works

            I know my credit card s is be tracked, my car is be tracked, most of the places I visit record my entry, my business and exit time and I do not care.

            I don't care was made to care, Mr Buttle... er, Tuttle.

  9. iron Silver badge

    Submitting to more than one app store has a very low marginal cost to the developer

    Except that it doesn't. Assuming you are moving to the Amazon App Store...

    Does your app provide notifications? Need to rewrite it using the Amazon api.

    Does your app use maps? Need to rewrite it using the Amazon api.

    Does your app use AdMob advertising? Need to rewrite it using another api, e.g. Facebook.

    Does your app use in-app billing? Need to rewrite it using the Amazon api.

    Does your app use Play Games to provide multi-user, cloud saves, leaderboards, etc? Need to rewrite it using the Amazon api that doesn't provide the same features so you'll also need to roll your own version of them.

    Does your app use the modern location api? Sorry Amazon don't have an equivalent so you can't sell your app outside Google Play. Alternatively you can rewrite it to use the old battery draining location api and have users complain your app literally sucks (their battery).

    There are more examples of features in Google Play Services that are required by most apps that makes porting them to Amazon time consuming and difficult or impossible in some cases.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The core of the problem:

    "Hi @googleeurope @sundarpichai, thanks for your blog telling us it's easy to remove preloaded apps from Android. I'm trying to remove Gmail, Google, Google Play Movies and TV, Google Play Music, Google Text-to-speech engine - but can't. Can you tell me how, please?"

    I posted recently about sanitizing Android 6 phones for my family to run Signal on. But it was heaps of work, and I still don't have certainty that some Android subsystems aren't phoning home anyway. To add to that, phone vendors are pulling away from helping users root phones, as the recent news on Huawei shows...

  11. thames

    Two issues

    The article is full of holes as it confuses two different issues.

    One problem is that Google tells phone vendors that if they want to sell genuine Android phones they can't also sell any that use a forked Android. This is quite effective in preventing companies such as Samsung from coming out with their own Android fork which is mostly compatible with actual Android and forces them to make something completely different and incompatible such as Tizen. That is a much bigger gap to jump to create an attractive product.

    The other issue is the services market, which includes mail, location, ads, etc. Google has theirs which only works with Android. Apple has theirs which only works with their phones. And there are several Chinese companies who are able to offer the same for their local market, but only with a forked Android. The fact that Google is only a minor player in China and China is the world's biggest mobile phone market probably goes a long way to explain why non-Google Android succeeds there.

    The example the author is looking for is Russia. Google lost an anti-competition case in Russia and can no longer demand exclusivity of its applications in Russia. This includes search, where Google has to provide a window which lets the user select what search engine to choose. The case originated in a complaint from Yandex.

    The story would have been much better if the author had discussed the Russian case and how that precedent might be applied to the EU.

  12. DCFusor Silver badge

    It won't work, and that's the issue worldwide

    As the reforming of AT&T proves, even when it almost works, it's very temporary - and see Net Neutrality for an example of any reduction in regulatory capture or the power of the guys with the wires and spectrum. And of course, AT&T merely experienced a name change...and that's about it.

    Tried to break up MS, but it came down to "we'll just see who is the government here" - and didn't even get to first base. All they had to do was discredit a judge and that gave cover to the politicians to look away.

    EU futher took on MS to document things like SMB - which was an utter failure, by the time they got around to almost complying, SMB had changed such as to make interop just as difficult as before.

    Nice try, no cigar.

    Now people want to do it to Google, and of course, Apple is next (and already tried over some pricing issues in their walled garden, with utter failure).

    While this seems to collect downvotes, the issue is - no one government seems able to pull off the regulation of companies that now effectively have more power than a government. As a world, we can't even get them to pay taxes, they can venue-shop to whoever caves the easiest, and of course do.

    And of course, while we can get them to pay a week's worth of profit in fines now and then - which has other fairness issues, did any of the drug money-laundering banks, or the various cheating by Wells Fargo draw enough of a fine to even cover their ill-gotten gains, much less actually hurt? No, it's just a forced bribe, everyone goes away happy - except we who actually pay for that.

    One rule for thee, another for me. I can do all the same dodges - but in the tax example, it takes having an employee and an address in one of the sandwich countries - pocket change for a big outfit, but way out of line for mine. Notice all regulations for, um, my last 65 years of paying attention have this effect? A tiny % to comply for the big boys, but put the little guys out of business - and no real resistance to those passing by the big boys, because they know this very well.

    And then we moan about the lack of new businesses that create all the decent jobs.

    It's just as illegal for the rich to beg, sleep under bridges and so on, as it is for the poor - they just don't need to. And heck, that's not even true anymore - we have a just-us system now (worldwide).

  13. onefang Silver badge

    Justice Bork wanted to bork Microsoft? Nominative determinism in action.

    Yeah, I need sleep.

  14. LDS Silver badge

    "MS to document things like SMB - which was an utter failure"

    Actually, it wasn't, and it isn't.

    Linux implementation of MS protocols got far better, and interop much easier. Samba supports the latest SMB version quite well, for example. And added AD domains as well. BTW, the latest SMB protocols are simpler than the original one...

    It's also much easier to create clients that talk to Exchange - which greatly helped mobe OSes and their applications. Or to parse Office documents.

    But the most important effect was MS became much more careful about trying to abuse its dominant position.

    Of course, big companies have also strong lobbies, and governments have to balance antitrust measures against the impact it has on jobs and investments. Yet, doing nothing would be the worst line of action, it would just worsen the situation.

  15. viscount

    This article posits that a pro-corporate Republican administration will suddenly come down on big tech. That is a basic misread of America.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm so totally in Google's camp on this

    Google is spot on that it's created the most open platform ever in the mobile space. The clear reality is that both the Play Store and Google's apps are by a huge margin far superior to any of the competitors and that includes Apple. So, just like when Firefox used Bing as the default search engine, I switched it back to Google. My technophobe wife didn't know why her search results weren't good and asked me to fix it. So, what if she didn't have access to someone like me? She would be poorer for the experience of having a "fairer" system.

    Google is not present in China. But the Chinese manufacturers couldn't sell their phones in India without installing Play Services. They tried. Nobody wanted them.

    Microsoft sets up their Android phones using all their services and apps. And people who are into MS can buy/setup their phones and not use a single Google app or service.

    If you are the tinfoil crowd that wants nothing to do with any corporate tracking, then use DuckDuckGo, Fdroid and suffer through an inferior experience.

    The clear fact of the matter is that Android can be as open as you want it. And if there really was a market for not having Google services, someone would have happily cashed into it. Clearly, most people simply prefer Google's solutions.

    1. Graham Cobb

      Re: I'm so totally in Google's camp on this

      If Google's services are better that is a fine and perfectly valid way to compete. What is not fine is to use market power to prevent others from competing. That is the reason the competitors are not as good -- if they spend the money to make them as good, they can't sell them to get their investment back because of Google's abuse.

      If, once the environment is competitive, "people simply prefer Google's solutions" that is fine. And it might even be that Google remain the largest player but it would mean that market segments like "the tinfoil crowd" actually have a real choice.

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