Google tells EU that Android 'expands competition'

Tech giant hits back at EU's claim OS is anti-competitive

Google told the EU its Android operating system actually makes the smartphone market more competitive, despite the tech giant  preventing rivals from preinstalling their own services on the device.

In the latest installment of Google's spat with the European Commission (EC), which has argued the company is anti-competitive by not allowing third-party search engines and browsers to be preinstalled on Android devices, Google said it is actually helping keep the industry alive.

"Android hasn't hurt competition, it's expanded it," Kent Walker, senior VP and general counsel for Google, said. "Android is the most flexible mobile platform out there, balancing the needs of thousands of manufacturers and operators, millions of app developers and more than a billion consumers. Upsetting this balance would raise prices, hamper innovation, reduce choice and limit competition."

Google said that by offering its own search engine and Chrome browser on all Android devices means it's able to keep developing the platform without charging smartphone manufacturers a huge license fee.

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It also means the operating system can remain to be open source, enabling manufacturers and developers to tinker with it, installing their own 'skin' if they wish. However, Google said it must maintain some control to ensure all versions are compatible with the software and apps preinstalled on devices.

"Our voluntary compatibility agreements enable variety while giving developers confidence to create apps that run seamlessly across thousands of different phones and tablets. This balance stimulates competition between Android devices as well as between Android and Apple's iPhone."

Its relationship with Apple was another part of Google's strategy that came under scrutiny. The EU said the way Google works means it doesn't compete with the iOS operating system installed on iPhones and iPads.

"We don't see it that way. We don't think Apple does either. Or phone makers. Or developers. Or users," Walker continued. "To ignore competition with Apple is to miss the defining feature of today's competitive smartphone landscape."

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