EU Android Decision is Misguided and Shortsighted, ITIF Says

July 18, 2018

WASHINGTON— In response to the European Commission’s announcement that it would fine Google €4.34 billion as well as force it to stop 1) requiring device makers to preinstall its search app and web browser as a condition for licensing Google’s app store; 2) paying device makers and mobile network operators to exclusively pre-install the Google search app; and 3) restricting device makers from selling unofficial Android forks, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s top-ranked science and tech policy think tank, today released the following statement from ITIF Vice President Daniel Castro:

The European Commission’s actions today are misguided and shortsighted. Google’s investment in the Android mobile operating system has created enormous value for consumers, developers, and device makers. The Android open-source project has led to the development of rival mobile operating systems like Amazon’s Fire OS, as well as many competing browsers, app stores, and search tools. Moreover, Google is the only company that has built a mobile ecosystem that rivals Apple’s, and rather than support this competition the Commission has weakened it. The Commission’s ruling is a blow to innovative, open-source business models, and other companies will likely think twice before trying to develop anything other than a proprietary, closed system.

Despite the Commission’s protests to the contrary, it is hard to see how today’s ruling aids consumers. Instead, it merely fills European coffers at the expense of American companies. Hopefully, the Commission’s ruling will be appealed and overturned. If not, it is time for European regulators to reset their approach to competition policy.