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FTC Probes Android and Google Search

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the you'll-never-catch-him,-he's-the-gingerbread-man dept.

Android 139

bonch writes "The FTC is investigating claims that Google prevented Android smartphone vendors from using competing services (covered previously), whether Google preferentially places its own services above others on the search results page, and whether Google scraped content from competitors for use in its own services. FTC lawyers are also asking how Android may be helping Google maintain its massive web search lead. Google denies all allegations and blames jealous rivals for the growing number of probes. The European Commission's own antitrust probe is ongoing."

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Finally (0, Flamebait)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37070070)

It did take time but finally someone is putting a stop to Google's monopolistic business strategies. I'm surprised they would repeat exactly the same mistakes Microsoft did in the 90's. Preventing Android smartphone vendors from using other services than Google's is exactly the same kind of deal and is highly anti-competitive, as is their favoring of their own services above competing ones.

Anti-competitive laws are exactly this - you should not use your monopoly in another area to gain unfair advantage in other market. What you especially should not do is prevent vendors from using other providers. Google has been doing all of this, but they do it really sneakily. Most of their marketing is really wise social engineering, the best example of being constant bombardment to download and switch to Chrome if you use IE.

Just because Google offers services for free and gets paid for them via advertisements and privacy violating data mining doesn't mean they can get away with everything. Most slashdotters seem to be blinded by the whole free and supposedly open thing, while most of their products are actually closed.

Re:Finally (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#37070096)

Your screed is only relevant if they are actually doing this whole "tying" thing.

Otherwise, it's all just a lot of hot air.

Web Search is the ultimate commodity free from vendor lock. It doesn't get much better than that in computing.

Re:Finally (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 3 years ago | (#37070176)

Yeah? Google is so very keen to get people's wallet-names in Google+ that they're going to bias their search engine toward people who sign up. Really [webpronews.com] - corrupting their search engine to try to extract more identity data.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070186)

Your screed is only relevant if they are actually doing this whole "tying" thing.

So what other ad network can I use if I want to make a free but ad-supported program besides Google's?

Web Search is the ultimate commodity free from vendor lock. It doesn't get much better than that in computing.

Sure, if you ignore the fact that Google uses their leverage to force the handset makers to give preference to their search engine over others.

It is nothing but great hilarity to see Google fanbois like you go through all sorts of mental gymnastics and make up hilarious excuses for why Google is okay doing the exact same things you same people were blasting Microsoft for back in the 90s. Except it's okay this time because it's being turned on Microsoft. Hypocrisy is grand.

Re:Finally (3, Informative)

Gilandune (1266114) | about 3 years ago | (#37070248)

Speaking from personal experience, my Galaxy S had Yahoo! as the default search bundled in the stock ROM from my provider...hell...it didnt even have all of the usual google applications. I dont see either Samsung or Telcel suffering or being locked out in any way from any google things...hell, there are even updates for the phones being rolled out right now...

Re:Finally (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 3 years ago | (#37070490)

My Droid X had Bing...oh god the pain...

Re:Finally (2)

jdgeorge (18767) | about 3 years ago | (#37071202)

Speaking from personal experience, my Galaxy S had Yahoo! as the default search bundled in the stock ROM from my provider...hell...it didnt even have all of the usual google applications. I dont see either Samsung or Telcel suffering or being locked out in any way from any google things...hell, there are even updates for the phones being rolled out right now...

Informative! Crap, replying to fix accidental moderation. My apologies.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070290)

Sure, if you ignore the fact that Google uses their leverage to force the handset makers to give preference to their search engine over others.

Is that why half of the Verizon Android phones come pre-installed with Bing search and maps rather than google?

Chitika (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37070364)

So what other ad network can I use if I want to make a free but ad-supported program besides Google's?

Wikipedia has a list of ad networks [wikipedia.org] . Companies as big as Yahoo! have recommended using Chitika [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Chitika (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070404)

That doesn't answer my question. My question is about what available options within Android can I choose beyond Google's. There could be 10,000 different ad networks but if I'm forced to only use Google's how is that not "tying"?

Re:Chitika (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37070724)

What are you talking about? Verizon has replaced Google with Bing on many of their handsets.

Re:Chitika (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 3 years ago | (#37070952)

The Millenial ad network claims that Android ad impressions exceed iPhones:

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/08/12/millennial-android-beats-ios-in-ad-impressions-apple-top-manuf/ [tuaw.com]

This SDK gives you easy access to multiple ad networks on Android (and iPhone too):

https://www.adwhirl.com/doc/android/AdWhirlAndroidSDKSetup.html [adwhirl.com]

Does that answer your question?

Re:Chitika (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37070988)

In what way does the Android operating system force developers to use Google's ad network for a free but ad-supported program and not Chitika's [chitika.com] ?

Re:Finally (1)

hawkingradiation (1526209) | about 3 years ago | (#37071362)

Personally, I think people are getting jealous. It is time to start innovating and producing good products and supply an alternative. I am sure that on Microsoft's phones, Google search isn't present. If Google has the lead it is because they are better. And even if they are a monopoly, so what, that is not illegal. People sometimes blame "better" on "forcing products on people". Sure maybe Google should try and collaborate with Microsoft, but that isn't in the cards. There is a reason why some vendors would rather ship Android while paying $5 for phone to Microsoft rather that ship a Microsoft product. If Google is the better one, lets realize that Google search got that way because of innovation, not buying people and products. And after all, it is there own phone and software. I think Google would be in the clear if they provided a way to root the phone to install your own software. I wonder how many people would be doing that?

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070188)

How is a web search different than a browser then? I seem to recall some problems between M$ and their browser...

Re:Finally (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 years ago | (#37071554)

It's not force bundled for one.

That seems to be the key thing that all of the Lemming and Fanboy whiners here seem to be missing.

It's a free product. Search engines are based on open standards. What leverage can Google possibly have?

Google is not even engaging in the same tying Microsoft was. Plus Google doesn't have the leverage too.

Microsoft was able to bully it's OEMs through price discrimination. Free Software kind of takes that idea off the table.

Re:Finally (1, Interesting)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37070244)

It's more complex than that. Web Search now is the ultimate vendor lock, just because it's based on so much data. Data that you can't generate just by improving your algorithms. That's why Google follows what results you pick from the search results, that's why they collect so much data about keywords people use and which ones are relevant to each other and lately they even started following how much time people spend on the website Google referred people to. If user comes back to the search page quickly, it means that page was poor for the keyword that user used to do the search. So to compete with Google and improve your search engine you need at least as much of that data as Google, which you cant get because Google has a monopoly and their results are pretty good, again because they get so much data that competitors don't. The ultimate lock-in and uncompetitive position.

Re:Finally (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37070794)

Web Search now is the ultimate vendor lock

If that were true, Google would have a similar monopoly on web search in the US that MS has on the desktop. Last I checked, Google only has about a 65 percent share. That is not even close to what you would expect from "ultimate vendor lock".

So to compete with Google and improve your search engine you need at least as much of that data as Google

Bull. There are many ways to compete. Offer better services, better interface, more convenient searching, better sorting of the data you have, so on and so forth.

Re:Finally (1)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37072068)

better sorting of the data you have, so on and so forth.

That's exactly why you need that huge amount of user data. If it was just the case of algorithms Google wouldn't be collecting all that data and there would be much more competition. As for "better services, better interface, more convenient searching", how exactly would you improve that? It's already pretty much as convenient as it gets.

Re:Finally (2)

mewsenews (251487) | about 3 years ago | (#37071012)

Luckily Microsoft have once again innovated, and started to fight this monopoly by monitoring how their customers interact with Google

Re:Finally (1)

camperslo (704715) | about 3 years ago | (#37071762)

Luckily Microsoft have once again innovated, and started to fight this monopoly by monitoring how their customers interact with Google

How? Citations please. Whose scripts load on most web pages?
Are they running people through proxies and their own DNS? ..MS web bugs/beacons/cleargifs, LSOs, Silverlight or?

(and do you mean on the desktop/laptop? There are hardly enough MS phone customers for the related ad/search traffic to match much at this point.)

Re:Finally (1)

bongey (974911) | about 3 years ago | (#37071018)

Algorithms are still king.
You make it sound like it is simple linear relationship between click data and what is the better search result, it isn't that simple. Take your example of a click stream. Now I have to sift through massive amounts of click data all the while trying to make sure the click data is actually valid, and not some botnet trying to screw with the click stream, some idiot that doesn't know how to search. Now I have to correlated that data to indexed web page data also.
Now do this indexing and validation of the click stream fast, sorry it isn't that simple.

Re:Finally (1)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37072182)

I never said it's only that data. Search engines now are huge algorithms combined with lots of user data and even more related keyword data. Algorithms are the base, but all that data is what makes them work. This includes user data like click stream and also keywords that users enter to search. Since Bing has a much smaller market share they cannot get this data. What's interesting about this is that while Google got in as a first actually good search engine everywhere else in the world, China and notably Russia has their own search engines. Yandex is still used by majority of russians and Google is struggling to get by, as they cannot get that kind of data there.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070274)

All he's trying is gaming Slashdot and waiting for the moment a story is posted to get his tripe as the first thing people read.

Re:Finally (2)

makomk (752139) | about 3 years ago | (#37070508)

Yeah - as far as I know the only Android phones that don't let you choose your search provider are the ones that Microsoft have paid providers to use Bing on...

Re:Finally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37071686)

Exactly. There are android phones that come with bing. In fact I complained at length to a verizon sales rep about it and told him, "What's the point of android if Bing is integrated. The whole point in buying this phone is Google."

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070950)

When I as at Google the goal of Android was clearly to increase market share. If not what would be the point ? It was clear that the goal was to get more of the mobile traffic which is eating more and more of the old desktop/laptop share of the Internet.

Now it was also clear that being open sourced the vendors could mostly do what they want with the platform, the 'lock' is probably going to be reduces support if you replace the google pieces with Bing. That would make sense for something like the maps/locations the API might be Google Maps specific and zero effort is made to allow third party replacements of these services. Not pure evil but still a way to not be compatible with the other ones, quite similar to Microsoft tactics in practices: it's not our fault if DR DOS is not working just like our new version of MS DOS, we swear.

Re:Finally (3, Informative)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37071268)

the 'lock' is probably going to be reduces support if you replace the google pieces with Bing. That would make sense for something like the maps/locations the API might be Google Maps specific and zero effort is made to allow third party replacements of these services.

Pure and utter bullshit. I develop for Android. There is a generic intent that any map displaying on Android can listen for.

String uri = "geo:"+ latitude + "," + longitude;
startActivity(new Intent(android.content.Intent.ACTION_VIEW, Uri.parse(uri)));

In what way is this locking anyone out?

Re:Finally (1)

walternate (2210674) | about 3 years ago | (#37071146)

Your screed is only relevant if they are actually doing this whole "tying" thing.

Otherwise, it's all just a lot of hot air.

Web Search is the ultimate commodity free from vendor lock. It doesn't get much better than that in computing.

It's only free from vendor lock in as long as there isn't a prohibitive barrier to compete with alternatives. The investments necessary to be competitive with Google in search now is in the range of several billion dollars yearly (which Microsoft is the only ones left able and willing to do after Yahoo throwing in the tovel). You can't come out of the basement with a more clever search algorithm anymore, because so much of what we take for granted of speed and features are dependent on enormous infrastructure and data deal investments (like Google buying ITA for 700m$ just to secure flight data into their search). Or giving away mobile OS for free to secure mobile search dominance and revenue. This is the game Google is playing.

Re:Finally (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37071358)

It is not Google's job to make web search any cheaper to get into. Should GM help out every tom dick and harry trying to build a car in their garage? How about Intel? Should they start leasing out their fabs to all various and sundry to appear "competitive"? Get real.

Re:Finally (1)

walternate (2210674) | about 3 years ago | (#37071850)

It is not Google's job to make web search any cheaper to get into. Should GM help out every tom dick and harry trying to build a car in their garage? How about Intel? Should they start leasing out their fabs to all various and sundry to appear "competitive"? Get real.

I didn't say or think this is Googles job. I was just pointing out that the " it is so easy to switch search provider" argument is a bit naive as it is dependent on there actually being alternatives.

What is the case though, is that at some point lack of competition, barrier to entry, cross-funding of services to extend dominant position, etc. becomes a regulatory issue in many markets and a job for the government agencies charged with securing healthy competition in the marketplace. And the rules are different (and might even seem unfair) for companies that are deemed to be in such position. Which is exactly what we are seeing here.

Re:Finally (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37072114)

I was just pointing out that the " it is so easy to switch search provider" argument is a bit naive as it is dependent on there actually being alternatives.

Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com, are all alternatives. And that's not even counting engines like Baidu and whatever they have in Russia that is kicking everybody else's ass. Just because Google makes a better product and people prefer it doesn't make it anti-competitive. Sounds like a case of sour grapes more than anything else.

What is the case though, is that at some point lack of competition,

There is no lack of competition as I mentioned above.

barrier to entry,

Running with the best of the best in search will never be cheap. I'll bet building aircraft carriers isn't cheap too. What would you suggest we do to "fix" that? Oh, nothing? Hypocrite much?

cross-funding of services to extend dominant position,

This is not even close to against the law. Google has a dominant position not a monopoly. You are confusing the two. Apple dominates the iDevice ecosystem but it isn't illegal because they have competition just like Google does.

etc.

such as?

becomes a regulatory issue in many markets and a job for the government agencies charged with securing healthy competition in the marketplace. And the rules are different (and might even seem unfair) for companies that are deemed to be in such position. Which is exactly what we are seeing here

You have made no legitimate argument that suggests this makes sense in Google's case.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070122)

Google has been doing all of this, but they do it really sneakily. Most of their marketing is really wise social engineering, the best example of being constant bombardment to download and switch to Chrome if you use IE.

To be fair, they may need to see it more often. They have lower IQs. [sitepoint.com]

Re:Finally (1)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37070152)

That whole thing was a hoax [slashdot.org] .

Re:Finally (1)

E-Rock (84950) | about 3 years ago | (#37070166)

You need to read your own link. That survey was a hoax.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070142)

Story posted (2011.08.12 12:56)... less than a minute (2011.08.12 12:56) you reply with this?

Re:Finally (2, Funny)

itchythebear (2198688) | about 3 years ago | (#37070338)

Never under estimate the speed and efficiency of the internet hate machine.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070910)

Or Apple fanbois released from Steve Jobs' dungeon.

Re:Finally (1)

esocid (946821) | about 3 years ago | (#37070326)

Preventing Android smartphone vendors from using other services than Google's is exactly the same kind of deal and is highly anti-competitive, as is their favoring of their own services above competing ones.

I'll bite, until you get modded as troll.

Explain how Samsung phones have Bing. Also, are you suggesting that a company bundle all services from competitors? I'd love to see how the WinMo phones do that.

Most of their marketing is really wise social engineering, the best example of being constant bombardment to download and switch to Chrome if you use IE.

Anyone still using IE has no idea other browsers exist, or are MS fanboys. What sort of constant bombardment? You mean marketing? I fail to see how people using Google complain that google advertises their products. Don't like those, try another search engine, there are a plethora to choose from.

Just because Google offers services for free and gets paid for them via advertisements and privacy violating data mining doesn't mean they can get away with everything. Most slashdotters seem to be blinded by the whole free and supposedly open thing, while most of their products are actually closed.

Open how? Free as in beer, or speech? I use them because they are free as in beer, and work well. I've used competing products, Hotmail, Yahoo, and they're stuck in geocities age.

Re:Finally (1)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37070472)

Anyone still using IE has no idea other browsers exist, or are MS fanboys.

That's just ignorance at its best. What about businesses? You know, IE is still the only browser that has site wide policies that can be applied organization wide easily by the IT department. Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari.. None have these. And businesses are a huge market, as people need to work. Are you saying they're all either MS fanboys or don't know about other browsers?

What sort of constant bombardment? You mean marketing? I fail to see how people using Google complain that google advertises their products. Don't like those, try another search engine, there are a plethora to choose from.

Yeah, you mean just like in the 90s people could had just bought from vendors that didn't make uncompetitive deals with Microsoft, even if the damage still happened? Same situation. Google is acting uncompetitive by promoting their services over competitors and even scraping content from said competitors that are then included in top of the search results. You might say it's their search results and they can do as they please, but that didn't work for Windows and IE either. In both cases you are unfairly leveraging a monopoly position to push competitors off from other markets.

Re:Finally (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37070946)

Yeah, you mean just like in the 90s people could had just bought from vendors that didn't make uncompetitive deals with Microsoft, even if the damage still happened? Same situation.

The "90s" covers a 10 year period. If you are referring to the latter half, when I went into a computer store to buy a computer, the choice was essentially nothing but IBM compatible machines running windows. If I want to use another search engine, I open a tab and type that search engine's url in the address bar. The two are not even remotely similar. Google does not do anything to stop you from using another search provider in Chrome. When you install Chrome, the first thing you see is a pop-up asking you who you want to use. Interestingly, that pop-up is weighted 2/3 Bing as Bing gives the results for Yahoo now so Google is actually at a disadvantage in their own browser. Comparing MS' monopolistic practises in the 90's to Google delivering a product people actually want now is disingenuous at best.

Re:Finally (1)

revscat (35618) | about 3 years ago | (#37070552)

Open how? Free as in beer, or speech? I use them because they are free as in beer, and work well. I've used competing products, Hotmail, Yahoo, and they're stuck in geocities age.

Sorry, what part of Google is "free as in beer", exactly? Their search algorithms? Ad placement? Gmail? G+? GTalk? Android?

None of Google's significant properties are open. None. The emperor has no clothes. Here, chew on this [computerworld.com] :

A protective order in the case restricts access to the Android source code, limiting the number of people who can review the code and requiring that Microsoft and Motorola "give prior written notice" to Google before showing the source code to a technical advisor. Google is to have 10 days to object.

Microsoft did not do that, Google alleged, as it moved to prevent Stevenson from testifying at the evidentiary hearing slated for later this month.

"The confidential source code improperly provided to Dr. Stevenson is highly proprietary source code that Google does not even share with its partners, such as Motorola," Google said.

Code. Android. "Highly proprietary".

There are reasons to like Android, but "openness" is not one of them.

Re:Finally (1)

Si (9816) | about 3 years ago | (#37070812)

Yes, gmail, search, G+, gtalk, and android are all free-as-in-beer. Some of them are also free-as-in-speech*. Well, unless you count ad-supported as NOT free.

* I have the source code for Android sitting here on my laptop. Didn't pay a brass razoo for it. Can modify and re-compile it 'til the cows come home. W00t openness!.

There are many reasons to hate Android, but lack of openness is not one of them.

Re:Finally (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#37070352)

Where are the complaints? Did Yahoo or MSN/Live.com Attempt to push out an app to utilize their search engine and have it rejected? Did any other search provider ask to be listed as an alternative to google search and then get rejected?

I fail to understand exactly what is being done wrong here. If they asked to participate and were refused, then I would say they definitely have a case. I seriously doubt that is what happened.

Re:Finally (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070362)

You obviously have no idea what your talking about, so i would hold onto your opinion. Microsoft had a real monopoly in the 90s and were caught red handed attempting to force OEMs and consumers to use only their products. However they had the ENTIRE PC market. Android has a little over half of the smartphone market and very little of the tablet market in comparison to apple.

Other differences from the eternal comparison of Microsoft and Gooogle:
Google in fact doesn't force OEMs to use their search, we've seen dozens of phones with Bing search instead of the standard Google search.
Every single one of the complaints listed are simply that: complaints. There has been no sure fire evidence, and many of the complaints if you look into it, are completely incorrect.
The only market where Google technically has a monopoly is Search, and that's simply because they put out a better search product than others. Have you tried Bing?

Re:Finally (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 3 years ago | (#37070378)

Its hard to lock competing services out of a wide open eco-sytem. Take the code and write your own Android-compatible device and add all the completion you like. Isn't Bing a prominent player in one of the manufacturer's phones aout of the box? You seems really closed and bullyish to me.

Just take a step back for a moment, the fact that Google is being probed is a good thing for them and everyone else. If the probes find truly anti-competitive behaviour (which I seriously doubt based on public info) Google can correct their behaviour and hopefully learn some valuable lessons about good will. The fact that their probed at all means that Google's 'made it' to the big leagues where their services are moving from very nice to have to near essential for many. Of course if Google escapes all probes mostly unscathed, it'll re-enforce the mantra of "Do no Evil" for those afraid that they've been slipping too much into the corporate machine.

The latest PR shill for MS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070402)

Time to retire this handle now too.

Re:The latest PR shill for MS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070562)

I know, whatever happened to "cgeys"? I was just warming up to that one.

Re:Finally (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | about 3 years ago | (#37070432)

Interesting... My LG Vortex running Android came with BING as it's default search engine....

Not sure how much water these complaints against android are holding but I intentionally switched out BING for an alternative search engine :-)

Re:Finally (5, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | about 3 years ago | (#37070468)

No, here's what happened, since you are unable to RTFA: Skyhook offered a vendor a discount if they would modify the phone to block non-Skyhook location services from functioning. This means that Google maps doesn't work, this means that any map or navigation software you buy on the market will crash. Google doesn't want handsets that can't run software from the market, because then they have an avalanche of complaints and returns. So their policy is that you are free to fuck with the API and break your phone as much as you want, but if it's broken they don't allow you to use the Android Market from it. See, Android and Google Apps are NOT bundled after all, and although you can always use Android if you follow the license, you are not guaranteed to be able to use Google Apps, especially the market. One rule they will not relax is "If your phone will not run some Market apps, you cannot use the Market at all". Because people already send them enough death threats about "fragmenting the market" without shitty vendors intentionally making their phone crash on certain apps to prevent competition. That's right, you are on the side of anti-competitive bullshit, not opposing it. Google is the one opposing Skyhook making a condition that says "your phone must block competing software from running". You can add new shit to the API (as long as you know that any apps you write using your new calls won't be allowed on the market since they only work on your phone) but you CANNOT remove functions from the API and still be allowed on the market. Anyways, he's a really fast test to demonstrate that the crybabies are lying: My Samsung Galaxy S has Skyhook on it. Google never blocked it. It works fine. But what Samsung didn't do is get the Skyhook discount by disabling Google Maps and Google Maps Navigation.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37071692)

[quote]Google doesn't want handsets that can't run software from the market,[/quote]

That's okay...Google seems to be doing that all on their own as it is now.

-An Unsatisfied Android Owner

Re:Finally (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#37070574)

So you want Google to start charging significant licensing fees to Android phone vendors? How about $50 per phone? More? You think that would affect the cost to the consumer?

Google gets its revenue from search (and selling our souls one bit at a time), and you're going to cry that their phone OS is subsidized by search revenue? Build your own, go with iOS or WinPhone, or some other option if you don't like it. Call me when Google starts charing outrageous licensing fees and ties some search revenue to their phones.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070636)

Google is not a monopoly. Go use another search engine and stop whining. The only true monopolies exist because the government creates them.

Re:Finally (0)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 3 years ago | (#37070686)

Wow. Your post made so much sense once I replace Google with Apple.

Re:Finally (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | about 3 years ago | (#37070948)

Anti-competitive laws are exactly this - you should not use your monopoly in another area to gain unfair advantage in other market.

Google doesn't have a monopoly on smart phones, search, mail or any other service. There is a pretty healthy level of competition at the moment. There is nothing stopping vendors or customers from customizing android with non-google services. Again, I fail to see how google has a monopoly on anything.

Apple ties iphones with itunes, I fail to see why google can't do whatever they want with their own platform.

Re:Finally (1)

ray_mccrae (78654) | about 3 years ago | (#37071198)

you're missing the point, no one can tell google not to tie their products together. what google can't do is dictate what other companies do with their products.

Re:Finally (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 3 years ago | (#37071068)

finally someone is putting a stop to Google's monopolistic business strategies.

I think you fail to realize that "monopolistic business strategies" are the norm for business in the US.

Anti-competitive laws are exactly this - you should not use your monopoly in another area to gain unfair advantage in other market.

That's great, but if you are going to hang one company for doing this, then hang the others who are doing the same thing. Apple, Oracle, AT&T, Microsoft; they all have their little vendor lock-in schemes which don't allow any room for competition.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37071282)

How, exactly, does Google prevent the use of other services than their own? I can install a Bing search app on my Droid X, a yahoo mail app, a Amazon music app... None of this is blocked. If Apple decided to write an iTunes app for Android they could release it on the android market too.

On the other hand, I have seen quite a few competing services denied access to the iPhone app market...

Re:Finally (1)

Thantik (1207112) | about 3 years ago | (#37071342)

Just take a look at zget's UID and post history. It's quite obvious he's one of the clowns sent here by either Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft.

Re:Finally (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 3 years ago | (#37072186)

Can everyone (Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Govt, RIM et al) just leave Google alone to do whatever it's doing? Strop suing it, probing it, or trying to interfere with it's operations.

As a consumer, I've benefited immensely from Google and if it weren't there, my life would be far worse. Nothing else matters.

Is it just me... (1)

V. P. Winterbuttocks (2246736) | about 3 years ago | (#37070204)

Whenever I see the word "probes" in a headline, it seems like the first thing that occurs to me is anal probes. It seems like they'd just as easily be able to use "investigates" and avoid this connotation.

Of course, the little green man graphic didn't help that any either.

"investigates" is twice as long as "probes" (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37070424)

It seems like they'd just as easily be able to use "investigates" [instead of "probes"] and avoid this connotation.

They use "probes" to save space, the same reason people use "M$" instead of "Microsoft" in Slashdot comment subjects, and the same reason you use "V." and not "Vorokrytin" in your Slashdot username. Let me open Python:

>>> len("investigates") - len("probes")
6
>>>

Re:"investigates" is twice as long as "probes" (1)

V. P. Winterbuttocks (2246736) | about 3 years ago | (#37070496)

They weren't running short of space by any stretch, though. Just looking down the homepage I can see several stories with much longer headlines:

FTC Probes Android and Google Search
'Electronic Skin' Grafts Gadgets To Body
Review of IBM's Original Personal Computer
US Energy Panel Cautiously Endorses Fracking
Why Companies Knowingly Ship Insecure Devices
BitTorrent Trial Makes Australia's High Court
China Catches Up With Google's Driverless Car
Researchers Make Graphene From Girl Scout Cookies
Scientists Modify Organism With Artificial Amino Acid
Scotland Yard Confirms It's Using Facial Recognition Tech
3D Hacking Environment Links Kinect, Blender, and Metasploit
Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?

Heck - it's one of the shortest headlines of the day.

Re:"investigates" is twice as long as "probes" (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37070618)

Slashdot headlines are often minor rewordings of the headline of The Featured Article. "FTC Sharpens Google Probe" is the headline of the article in The Wall Street Journal.

Where was FCC when Bing did? (5, Insightful)

Shompol (1690084) | about 3 years ago | (#37070222)

Bing (Microsoft product) paid Verizon (a near-monopolistic wireless carrier) to do exactly this. Google search was scraped from all the Blackberries, and possibly other phones as well, even though Google was the default search engine when customers purchased the device. This was done openly and for some reason FCC took no interest in the event. At least now we know who's pocket FCC is sitting in.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

zget (2395308) | about 3 years ago | (#37070292)

Bing isn't a monopoly or a market leader. Google pretty much is.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 3 years ago | (#37070350)

Just like Microsoft Windows pretty much is? How did that anti-trust case turn out?

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070366)

It was going pretty well, then Microsoft found some congressmen and stuffed fistfuls of dollar bills so far up their asses that they could read the serial numbers.

Hope Google remembered to budget that in.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070564)

Bing isn't a monopoly or a market leader. Google pretty much is.

Excuse me? The US Department of Justice has something else to say about that.

Bing (Which is not even a company name, the company name is Microsoft) is most Certainly a convicted monopoly!

It's been in a few papers.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft [wikipedia.org]

Care to show me the same court case for Google? Oh right, you can't, because that case never happened.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37070598)

Er, Google has something like 65 percent of the search market in the US. Hardly a monopoly.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070746)

More like 80%.

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx?qprid=4

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37071106)

That's global share, dufus. The article is talking about an FTC probe which is decidedly a US issue thus I quoted the US market share figures.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (2)

owlstead (636356) | about 3 years ago | (#37071330)

Maybe he was including Bing in the Google market share, as Bing uses Google :)

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37071476)

Heh heh. Touché!

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37071114)

Google is not a monopoly. But Microsoft is a convicted anti-competitive monopolist who had just come off a sentence. They turn right around and do this.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | about 3 years ago | (#37070368)

Yeah, but Bing is not a dominant search player (Google is) and the fact that MS had to pay Verizon/RIM to default to Bing is only a testament to the TFA subject.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070504)

It's no different than people being forced to buy Windows so they can run their app on the PC they bought.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37070678)

Bing is not a dominant search player

Dominant is not what is at issue. The question is one of monopoly and Google is not a monopoly at 65 percent share in the US.

Furthermore, RIM released their smartphones with Google because they wanted to. Asking Verizon to change it costs money so of course MS had to pay. Do you think Vzw would change Bing to Google on their windows phones for free? You are basically saying anybody should just be able to waltz into Verizon HQ and get the default search on all of their smartphones changed on a whim. Get real.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37071918)

You are basically saying anybody should just be able to waltz into Verizon HQ and get the default search on all of their smartphones changed on a whim. Get real.

OOOOH SNAP! It's about to get really real up in hurr!

It would suck ass if I had to completely reinstall IE, FireFox, Chrome, or Safari just to change search engines.

Re:Where was FCC when Bing did? (2)

toejam13 (958243) | about 3 years ago | (#37070664)

Android-based smartphones from Verizon also use Bing as the default search provider. So it appears that Google will allow carriers to customize that aspect of the phone.

The main questions are: did Verizon have to put up a fight with Google over the change, or did Google not really care? Is there much interest from the carriers in changing the default search engine? Are any other carriers even making this change (like Chinese carriers using Baidu as opposed to western search engines)?

Whatever... (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | about 3 years ago | (#37070306)

Who uses bing anyway? Oh wait those poor souls who are forced to use MSIE at work.

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070434)

I'm pretty sure you can change the default search engine, even in IE. not?
And its not like the latest IE versions are horrible, sure not the best, but not IE5 or 6. Ok, chrome is still my browser choice, but whatever.

Re:Whatever... (3, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | about 3 years ago | (#37070616)

Unless of course your company locks down any one specific thing (from what I can tell) you cannot change your default search provider. I've tried and I keep getting a little alert box that says the default cannot be changed. I had to go into the registry to set it to Google, and that wasn't necessarily a fun task (had to get UUID for Google search, remove Bing one, etc.)

Re:Whatever... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 years ago | (#37070464)

Yeah, Microsoft allows no options to change that. Oh wait, no one is forced to use it because it is trivial to change.

Group Policy (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37070576)

Oh wait, no one is forced to use it because it is trivial to change.

Trivial for the user, or trivial for the Group Policy administrator and locked out for the user?

SOP for M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070420)

This is SOP for Micro$oft.

So Micro$oft assumes everyone else does it too.

with Google (tm) (1)

nbsdx (2434648) | about 3 years ago | (#37070560)

FTA "FTC lawyers have also asked about the growing influence of Android and how it may be helping Google maintain its lead in Web search. Google's search engine is the default for many phones built using Android." I hope that all these people look at the back of the phones, and see the "with Google (tm)" logo... That's effectively notifying everyone that Google products are going to come with the device. Why should Google package Yahoo! search with the OS that they developed. IANAL, but I feel that Google isn't breaking any anti-competition laws this time.

Re:with Google (tm) (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | about 3 years ago | (#37071098)

I agree. Though Microsoft basically did the same thing with Internet Explorer and got into a lot of hot water, so it's hard to say.

Last I checked Apple controls their platform pretty tightly aswell and forces you to use the iTunes store for everything. Why isn't Apple being investigated for not allowing competiting app stores (without jailbreaking). Why is Apple allowed to tie their services to their platform and Google isn't? Seems a bit ridiculous to me.

In related news (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 years ago | (#37070640)

Apple has finalized their purchase of the FTC.

Irony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37070732)

Should I point out the irony in the fact that Apple had such an incredible stronghold with their phone service, that they actually started to BLOCK Google and use their OWN advertising service to gain additional revenue and take away from Google? As far as I'm concerned, that's unfair trade practices that APPLE has been guilty of, and if Google is doing the same thing, Apple should be reprimanded as well.

Re:Irony? (1)

ray_mccrae (78654) | about 3 years ago | (#37070924)

Yes, Apple were wrong to block other ad services. That's why they stopped blocking them, because they knew they'd get sued/investigated. Unfortunately we're talking about Google's on going behaviour here. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Re:Irony? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37071174)

Unfortunately we're talking about Google's on going behaviour here. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Yeah, except for the fact that Google isn't blocking other search or ad providers on Android phones. The Google hate runs so deep that people like you simply resort to spreading lies. So sad.

Re:Irony? (1)

ray_mccrae (78654) | about 3 years ago | (#37071674)

Yeah, except for the fact that Google isn't blocking other search or ad providers on Android phones. The Google hate runs so deep that people like you simply resort to spreading lies. So sad.

Whoo there, let's not get personal. I'm not making personal attacks against you, and I don't expect to be called a liar unless you can point out were I'm factually wrong, and even then that would make me wrong not a liar.

Google blocks others services by forcing it's partners to bundle it's services if they want access to the google app marketplace and other high value assets of android that are closed source and owned by google. Sure anyone can take the base code from the open handset alliance, but without access to google value items then that manufacture would be at a distinct disadvantage. This is right out of MS anti completive playbook, MS never forbid it's partners from using other OSes they just made sure that if they did then they'd lose all the pricing advantages, or in google's term access to the app market and other services to disadvantage them.

Re:Irony? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 3 years ago | (#37071760)

Google blocks others services by forcing it's partners to bundle it's services if they want access to the google app marketplace

Not true. There are many Android phones sold by Verizon that have Bing search and maps preloaded yet have access to the Android Market.

Re:Irony? (1)

ray_mccrae (78654) | about 3 years ago | (#37072096)

I can not comment on the verizon bing deal, as I've not familiar with it and what ever discussions between the companies where done behind closed doors. My comment is more concerning issue that have come to light, like the motorola deal with skyhook that google objected to and then forced motorola to abandon.

Re:Irony? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37072188)

You need to read the article. Skyhook was asking Motorola to break api functionality in their phones to exclude competing services with Skyhook and Google rightly told them to go fuck themselves. Please educate yourself.

Getting suspicious (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | about 3 years ago | (#37072036)

Google's defensive posture is getting a little tired, and less and less effective. They think the answer to their legal troubles is a massive PR campaign. "It's not us, it's just that our competitors are jealous!" "We're not infringing on patents, we're just being oppressed, victimized systematically by these outrageous patent litigation abusers!"

I'm starting to ignore Google's pleas for understanding. These are not legal defense arguments. They're red herrings, and they're terrible ones at that. They're being childish, and to resort to these tactics, is actually starting to make me suspicious that they're not so innocent after all.

When will Apple suffer anti trust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37072076)

Why does Apple get a pass? Everything about Apple is territorial...

"They won't let us dominate this market too.." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37072080)

So surely they must be guilty of a Monopoly? 65% market share is monopoly, but 95% of the PC market share through paying manufacturers to require Windows taxes be levied on all PCs regardless of whether they want Windows installed is OK? It a monopoly even when Phone manufacturers can and do change the default search engine, and people use Google to search anyway? Please...

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