European Union set to release anti-competition hounds on Google

News Corp's Google News complaint has sprouted in Brussels

The European Union looks to be formulating plans to charge Google with anti-competitive conduct over the Android operating system.

The move coincides with a flank attack on Google, with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp filing a complaint about the legality of the Alphabet subsidiary's search and news services.

The grounds for the EU's Android complaint are well-known: EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has spent years investigating whether Android app bundling disadvantages European companies.

As Reuters notes, the issue isn't about Google's own apps – Gmail, Maps, or Play – but rather the contracts that apply to smartphone makers' bundles.

Vestager repeated her concerns to a regulatory conference on Monday, Reuters says. The Financial Times quotes her as saying that Google might be cutting off channels for new apps to reach customers.

Both Reuters and The Financial Times reckon Vestager will be ready to move this week.

Google's response to the charges in the past has been to point to competitors' apps that can run on Android, such as Facebook, Microsoft's Office, and the veritable pile of kruft that Samsung adds to Android on the way through.

The News Corp complaint, according to Bloomberg, is that Google News cribs just enough of a story that readers don't need to click through to the site that originated a story – which of course eats into their clicks and therefore advertising income.

Bloomberg says News CEO Robert Thomson met with Vestager in March. ®

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