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European regulators set sights on Android

Officials prepare fresh antitrust inquiry on Google’s possible abuses of mobile market position

Law and regulation, IT Business, Google Incorporated

The European Commission is preparing to investigate Google Inc again, this time to determine whether it has abused its market-leading mobile platform to push its services, Reuters reported.

Android is installed in an estimated 80% of smartphones worldwide and two insiders have claimed that a new antitrust head, due to start in November, has sparked the fresh probe.

EU regulators have been looking into Google's business practices since 2011, but European critics of the search giant, including corporate rivals and politicians, have been dissatisfied with the results of previous inquiries. The latest campaign reportedly involves much more detailed questions for companies, such as one for smart device vendors that asks whether Google required Android systems to be devoid of preinstalled competing products.

Despite Android being an open-source OS and theoretically customisable as OEM vendors see fit, device makers that want to use the latest version must sign a contract obliging them to preload a set number of Google apps, according to an unnamed ex-Google executive.