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Google Hit With Antitrust Lawsuit Over Default Search on Android Phones

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the same-problems,-different-decade dept.

Google 221

itwbennett writes: "A class-action lawsuit filed Thursday (PDF) accuses Google of strong-arming device manufacturers into making its search engine the default on Android devices, driving up the cost of those devices and hurting consumers. The suit does not argue that device manufacturers entered Mobile Application Distribution Agreements involuntarily, but that the market power of Google compels them to. 'Because consumers want access to Google's products, and due to Google's power in the U.S. market for general handheld search, Google has unrivaled market power over smartphone and tablet manufacturers,' says the suit."

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221 comments

flame on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898873)

Is there a better search engine than Google?

Re:flame on! (1)

lfourrier (209630) | about 3 months ago | (#46898925)

duckduckgo. (ok, it's a meta search engine)

Google is not as good as it was. I'm obliged to ask verbatim nearly every search, when it was the default.

Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo has stopped. (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46898965)

The "DuckDuckGo Search and Stories" app for Android was also a crashy piece of $#!+ last time I checked.

Re:Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo has stopped. (1)

lfourrier (209630) | about 3 months ago | (#46899007)

don't know about the app. I just use it as my search engine in firefox on Android. And fiefox is my default browser. (and adblock plus works relatively well) I just miss RequestPolicy in firefox mobile.

Re:flame on! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898927)

I use Bing because I hate finding stuff quickly. I mean whats the point of the internet when you immediately get what you're looking for?

BING!

Re:flame on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899027)

Bing is good for porn searches

Re:flame on! (0)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46899305)

Actually, I find the Bing is better for news searches. Google News used to be pretty good too, in the early days. But like so many Google projects, once the glamor of the launch fades, it slowly started to deteriorate. Today it's pretty flaky. It will often miss news stories that Bing catches.

Re:flame on! (1, Flamebait)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#46899531)

Bing! [youtube.com]

Re:flame on! (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46899165)

Is there a better search engine than Google?

That depends on what your goals are. If you find anonimity important at all, then the answer is "all of them"

Re:flame on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899325)

So.... no

Re:flame on! (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#46899333)

How is bing and the others batter at anonymity?

Re:flame on! (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 3 months ago | (#46899359)

So what exactly makes Google search less "anonymous" than all the others?

Re: flame on! (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 3 months ago | (#46899309)

How is that question even relevant to the legal matter at hand? Or, put it another way: How will Google be motivated to maintain or improve their search engine if they are able to abuse their monopolistic position?

and yet... (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 3 months ago | (#46898879)

I haven't heard a darn thing about the government getting out their government crow bar and prying Bing out of Windows 8. I am soooo sick of removing it manually in as many places as possible on my customers' new laptops!

Re:and yet... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899017)

Installing this piece of software will remove it: http://software.opensuse.org/131/en

Did you mean in a VM or on the metal? (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46899419)

If I install GNU/Linux in a virtual machine, I still get Bing when I tab back to Windows. If I install GNU/Linux on the bare hardware, I lose access to applications on which I depend that aren't usable in Wine.

Re:Did you mean in a VM or on the metal? (1, Flamebait)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#46899711)

If I install GNU/Linux in a virtual machine, I still get Bing when I tab back to Windows.

Solution: Don't tab back to Windows.

If I install GNU/Linux on the bare hardware, I lose access to applications on which I depend that aren't usable in Wine.

Solution: Install GNU/Linux on the bare hardware, and then run Windows in a VM.

Re:Did you mean in a VM or on the metal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899717)

Run windows in the VM?

Re:and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899039)

So your "customers" don't get to decide, they'll take the laptop the way YOU like it, right?

Re:and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899115)

Wait...when did we start talking about Apple?

Re:and yet... (0)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46899125)

I also don't let them keep their favorite spyware and trojan horse programs.

Do you have a problem with that?

Re:and yet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899273)

Frankly yes, yes I do. Not that I have a problem with the eradication of spyware & trojans. I DO have a problem with sanctimonious pricks.

"I also don't let them keep their favorite spyware and trojan horse programs" and

"I also advise and assist my customers in preventing and removing spyware and trojan horse programs"

I wonder if you can tell the difference... *hint - one of them makes you sound like a condescending asshole who thinks he's God's Gift to IT

Re:and yet... (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46899341)

I'm reminded of the old "Company Computer Guy" skit that Jimmy Fallon used to do on SNL.

Re:and yet... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46899613)

Which is why I am nothing like that character. I actually explain most of what I have to do, in terms they can actually understand. I show them some of the things they can do so they won't have to call me for the simplest stuff (desktop changes or finding files they lost). Then I let them know that I realize they won't remember most of it, but the part they do remember will be beneficial.

I still don't let my customers have a dozen toolbars installed, coupon and save-a-dime search crap, or even WeatherBug.

They want their computer to actually work for them, not someone who is making money by slowing it down and sending them to webpages they don't ask for.

Re:and yet... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46899655)

I also don't let them play with loaded guns, or drink bleach, or swim in the swamp out back.

Sorry if my level of concern for my customers' computers isn't in line with your personal beliefs. Actually, no, I'm not sorry at all.

Re:and yet... (1, Insightful)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#46899695)

i purposely set all my engines to Bing, so I'd be pretty pissed off if you changed my shite. like i would be po'd if you installed crappy firefox bar extensions.

Re: and yet... (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 3 months ago | (#46899371)

Is Microsoft considered a monopoly still? Because if they aren't, then such issues are not illegal (at least, not from FTC viewpoint).

Re: and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899525)

That's bullshit. These regulations don't require them to be a monopoly to apply, people keep repeating that trope because it allows corporations to do what they want without consequence. If you actually read Sherman or Clayton, it's quite clear that there are other situations under which a company can be successfully sued for antitrust violations without ever being consided a monopoly.

What is Microsoft's market share in multi-window? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46899623)

I too am curious as to whether Microsoft still holds monopoly market share. Can someone dig up figures for Microsoft's market share and installed base among computer operating systems with multi-window window managers in the United States? This market includes Windows, Windows RT, OS X, X11/Linux, and Samsung's recent versions of Android with multi-window mode. I chose multi-window multitasking as a rough metric for whether an OS is intended for focused activity [theplatform.io] or for play. I'm no Windows fanboy, but I do know that Windows RT, unlike iOS and stock Android, lets the user "snap" an application to a strip at the side of the monitor as wide as a smartphone.

Re:and yet... (1)

TerryC101 (2970783) | about 3 months ago | (#46899461)

It would be interesting to see a comparison of the number of steps needed to change the search provider in Android as opposed to a Windows phone.

Re:and yet... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#46899501)

It wouldn't be relevant. Windows had a monopoly. Windows phone doesn't.

I don't think Android is big enough to be deemed a monopoly yet, but it's heading that way.

Windows Phone on the other hand is barely surviving, so doesn't need to worry about breaching any monopoly rules.

Re:and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899583)

Sigh, why do idiots always claim that you need to be a monopoly before bieng sued for antitrust violations? A large part of those laws is to prevent people from becoming a monopoly via unfair means. If you grow your company through competition to take over a market you'd be a monopoly and wouldn't be sued unless you started to break the law. The size of the company has little to do with it other than the fact that you have to be a relatively large business before your actions can have much impact.

Oh the humanity! (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 3 months ago | (#46898881)

Because there is demand for a thing, business are forced to deliver it. Quick, someone stop it!

Re:Oh the humanity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898945)

Well, Google is in about as much a monopoly position with Android as MS was with IE back when the anti-trust suits came up. Get what you give.

Re:Oh the humanity! (1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 3 months ago | (#46899335)

Big difference... first, of course is that Android is opensource. Don't like it, go make your own distro.

Re:Oh the humanity! (2, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 3 months ago | (#46899647)

Big difference... first, of course is that Android is opensource. Don't like it, go make your own distro.

It is only in your dream. The version of Android sold on 98% of all phones worldwide is well locked and closed, thankyouverymuch.

Re:Oh the humanity! (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#46899723)

the whole point is that the handset owners say they effectively have to use goog due to business pressures. your statement is akin to saying "don't like it, then go out of business!"

Re:Oh the humanity! (2, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#46899347)

In what way? Google search is in no way tied to the OS at a core level like IE was. You can ensure that you never have google search on your machine without any issues.

Re:Oh the humanity! (5, Informative)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#46899735)

no, but it's tied in through business contracts as part of the handset alliance, which is the exact point of this suit.

Re:Oh the humanity! (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46899393)

Or Safari and all the other Apple apps on a Mac or iPad. In the 90's MS got bitch-slapped for doing something that's absolutely standard practice today. A consumer would probably be pissed if you installed an OS today and it DIDN'T come with some sort of standard browser and default search engine.

Re:Oh the humanity! (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46899709)

Even if end users expect the operating system to be bundled with applications, that doesn't necessarily make the bundled applications competent in their class. Internet Explorer in particular has lagged, and this lag has held back the functionality of widely used web applications as developers have had to make compromises to accommodate old IE. This is why I think operating systems should make it easier to discover the existence of alternatives to the bundled applications.

Re:Oh the humanity! (4, Informative)

spacepimp (664856) | about 3 months ago | (#46899653)

They already have done this. There were Android phones where Verizon was paid to have Bing as the default.

Just remember (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898889)

When you have stock Android on your phone, you are the product.

Re:Just remember (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46899139)

And when you have Chicken stock on your phone, you are a messy cook.

I remember this with M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898897)

I'm old...

'Because consumers want access to Google's products, and due to Google's power in the U.S. market for general handheld search, Google has unrivaled market power over smartphone and tablet manufacturers,' says the suit."

So Google is strong-arming us into taking the products we actually want. I gotcha. Being strong-armed never felt so good!

Re:I remember this with M$ (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#46898931)

Seriously. google actually makes it fairly easy to switch the default search provider, what should they do not include any search functionality and leave it up the the user to find a search functionality? I mean, how will they find it if they cant search!

Lawsuit requests paid placement (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46898983)

What this lawsuit requests is that operators of other search engines be allowed to pay phone makers and carriers to make a particular search provider the default on a particular make and model.

Re:Lawsuit requests paid placement (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#46899293)

Good luck doing that on iOS. Apple decides who gets bundled as default.

Re: Lawsuit requests paid placement (2)

Scowler (667000) | about 3 months ago | (#46899425)

So you are suggesting that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are not allowed to approach Cupertino and try to convince Apple to use their product by default. I see. Interesting, interesting. Do those salespeople get an electric shock or something?

Re:Lawsuit requests paid placement (2)

c (8461) | about 3 months ago | (#46899767)

What this lawsuit requests is that operators of other search engines be allowed to pay phone makers and carriers to make a particular search provider the default on a particular make and model.

So, like the "HTC First"?

Makers and carriers are fundamentally mercenaries. They'll do what will make them money. I suspect the real problem that Microsoft (who I assume is funding this lawsuit) has is that aren't able or willing to pay what it'd take to sufficiently compensate a phone maker to produce and market to carriers something along the lines of a "Samsung Galaxy S5 Bing Edition".

Re:I remember this with M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899079)

In fact, the last time an Android phone shipped without Google as the default, it shipped with Bing as the default and no way to get Google back. This was back when Verizon got the first Galaxy S and it was a shit sandwich then and now.

Google at least is good at making their services separable from the OS.

Re:I remember this with M$ (1)

hjf (703092) | about 3 months ago | (#46899091)

How do you change the default search functionality in Android?

There is a google search bar in my phone (Android 4.4.2), which, if i tap, long tap, tap and tap menu button, and any other combos, won't offer me an option to change it.

There is also the Android browser, which defaults to google search AND google.com as the home, for which you have to go into "advanced settings" to change the default search provider (IE will ask you on first run).

There is also Google Hangouts now wanting to be the default SMS app.

And there's Google+ claiming to have over 500M users when nobody uses (save for a few developers too cool for facebook). That's because google decided you had to be in Google+ if you had Gmail.

Google is still the best search engine and email provider out there. They are dominant in that area, and they use this to promote their other "platforms", most of the making it opt-out for you. So let's not defend google. They're just another company.

Re:I remember this with M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899159)

So Google is using their two and a half* monopolies to push their other services at users? (*search, gmail, youtube)

I guess we'll get to see if Microsoft has reason to sue the US court system for showing unjust favoritism or if Google will get hit by a major antitrust penalty that leads to 20 years of Slashdot hating them beyond any reasonable level of complaint.

Maybe... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899167)

You should install Bing, Yahoo or other search apps?

I seriously doubt you are going to change the *GOOGLE* Search bar away from Google... But I bet you that the other apps have Widgets for their search services.

Re:I remember this with M$ (5, Funny)

NecroPuppy (222648) | about 3 months ago | (#46899185)

How do you change the default search functionality in Android?

Have you tried Googling for that information? :)

Re:I remember this with M$ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899199)

Apparently, going into your browser's settings to change the search engine is hard..? And the Google search bar is simply a widget. Just remove it and get a new one from the Play store. Don't like Hangouts or Google+..? Remove them. No one's forcing you to keep this stuff.

Re:I remember this with M$ (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46899247)

How do you change the default search functionality in Android?

There is a google search bar in my phone (Android 4.4.2), which, if i tap, long tap, tap and tap menu button, and any other combos, won't offer me an option to change it.

I have a Google search bar on my phone too. It is a gizmo/widget app, and I can delete it if I want to. In fact, I just checked, and can slide to another page, and add a second one there. Then I can delete it. Because it is just another app.

Go find an app for your favorite search engine, install it, and put that gizmo on your phone's desktop. If such an app doesn't exist, that is not Google's fault.

Re:I remember this with M$ (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#46899313)

Yeah same here. Just because it is bundled by default it doesn't mean it cannot be removed from the desktop.

Re:I remember this with M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899295)

Is this [lmgtfy.com] how?

Re:I remember this with M$ (3, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 months ago | (#46899329)

Maybe you should ask the EU about their solution for Microsoft [slashdot.org] . In 2009, IE was easily removed from Windows, and for years prior it had been easy to set the default search engine to anything else. Yet the EU still wanted a browser ballot on first boot.

They will lose and have to pay costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898909)

This is frivolous, and they will not only lose, but have to pay Google's lawyers as well.

Re:They will lose and have to pay costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899113)

I do hope so. It's about time the courts started concentrating on criminals, and throwing these corporate pissing matches out. Fucking world's becoming overrun by accountants & lawyers.

Sounds a bit frivolus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898913)

They can get whatever phone they want.

With or without Google services... And as I understand it, you can change the search engine if you want to.

All-or-nothing clause in OHA contract (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46899057)

OHA rules state that if a manufacturer makes one Android device with Google services, all its Android devices have to include Google services. This severely limits which manufacturers Amazon can use to make its Fire OS devices. See, for example, the article Google's Definition of 'Open' [slashdot.org] .

Re:All-or-nothing clause in OHA contract (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#46899331)

All they have to do is split their manufacturing division from their devices division.

Re:All-or-nothing clause in OHA contract (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#46899435)

It is still a choice they are making, which means the OPs point is still valid.

Lawyers looking for a payout (4, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 3 months ago | (#46898917)

Note that the plaintiffs are not the manufacturers, but two random owners of Android phones. This is nothing but lawyers abusing the U.S. legal system, trying to extort a settlement out of a big company.

When is the U.S. going to get around to tort reform?

I wonder if they are being paid by Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899019)

After all, it has happened before.

Re:Lawyers looking for a payout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899045)

So the plaintiffs are suing because there is a default setting?
Hopefully the judge gives them instructions on how to change the default and sends them home.

Righthaven, for example (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#46899391)

Note that the plaintiffs are not the manufacturers, but two random owners of Android phones.

The legal system requires the plaintiff to be the party who has been harmed. If something mostly harms end users, then end users need to be named as plaintiffs. This is why Righthaven's lawsuits failed: the company refused to add the actual copyright owner to the lawsuit.

How is this anti-trust? (2)

pablo_max (626328) | about 3 months ago | (#46898939)

I am really asking.

Class action suit admits that customers only want google for search and would not be willing to buy a phone that searched with Bing. How is following consumer demand anti-trust?
There is a reason that everyone uses google and only google. Yes I know there are a couple people out there who use something else, but you are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the user base.
Also, I am not sure these guys know it, but Android is free to install.
Should google be forced to let you use their product to make money without getting anything in return?

Going on the summary: Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899149)

The suite doesn't say people want to use Google for search, at least not according to the summary. They're talking about the other Google services. Which people want, which on the other hand binds the vendor to the "Mobile Application Distribution Agreements", which makes Android non-free.

Re:Going on the summary: Nope. (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#46899447)

How does it make Android non-free?

Re:How is this anti-trust? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#46899587)

There is a reason that everyone uses google and only google.

The main reason is that that is the default search on virtually all computer and mobile browsers.

Of course it got to be the default search rather than earlier market leaders such as Webcrawler, Lycos and Altavista through quality innovations. But it retains it now through inertia, and because whilst other search engines are as good, none are a generation ahead. And that's what's needed to change an established monopoly.

Also, I am not sure these guys know it, but Android is free to install.

It's not really of interest to users, as they pay for a mobile phone - the BOM is not their concern. So we have manufacturer's getting a benefit from Google and users paying for it. So that's not quite right.

who is pulling the strings? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46898975)

Was it Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, or one of the device manufactures operating the hidden hand behind the two people who filed the lawsuit? Following the money to find out!

Re:who is pulling the strings? (0)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#46899369)

Probably all of them. But the astroturfing smells more like Microsoft than anything else. Remember Nokia selling those Android based phones in India?

Microsoft probably wants to 'embrace and extend' Android. They probably figured out by now it is Apache Licensed. But if they cannot sell it to 3rd parties who already sell Android devices their market share is going to be slim indeed. It is not like they have not done this before. They tried it with Java once.

Re:who is pulling the strings? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#46899649)

Was it Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, or one of the device manufactures operating the hidden hand behind the two people who filed the lawsuit?

The fact that the law company is based in Seattle should be grist for conspiracy theorists. On the other hand, as a law firm they do specialise in class actions suits against large corporations on a national basis, and most of them aren't Microsoft (or Apple or Yahoo) competitors, so maybe not.

For fuck's sake.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46898999)

It's just a friggen *DEFAULT*... unless the consumer can do nothing to change it, there should be absolutely nothing wrong with google being a default for search.

Apple has *WAY* more lock-in than this, and they aren't being sued (or at least anytime anyone's ever tried, Apple never seems to lose).

Re:For fuck's sake.... (2)

Splab (574204) | about 3 months ago | (#46899031)

Go ask Microsoft how that defense works out...

Re:For fuck's sake.... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46899349)

Microsoft also had much more than just the default setting, including a history of abuse that Google's worst behavior is nothing like, and control of about 95% of the consumer and business computer market.

This case is nothing like Microsoft's case other than a company producing an operating system which defaults to their own products.

Re:For fuck's sake.... (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#46899453)

Yea because MSs idea of default is tied to the OS at a level other browers cannot get to...

Re:For fuck's sake.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899193)

Apple doesn't own the search engine that is used by default on iWhatever device nor does Apple have such a large percentage of the mobile device market share, as you Fandroids like to point out at every opportunity... and sometimes when there isn't a proper opportunity for that matter.

Re:For fuck's sake.... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#46899399)

They own a lot of others things from the ad platform to the maps applications, iTunes store, etc.

I was surprised they did not sue their pants off because of the iTunes store monopoly at the time.

Re:For fuck's sake.... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#46899733)

iOS was never a monopoly. Neither was iTunes store.

For sure you can only get apps for iOS on the iTunes store. But a monopoly is within a market, and a company's own platform does not constitute a market. For example there is no problem with HP enforcing use of their own ink cartridges, or Nintendo only allowing console games that have been published through them.

Re:For fuck's sake.... (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 months ago | (#46899211)

The key word in an antitrust lawsuit is "dominance". When trying to determine if a firm is dominant, one usually first looks at market share. I believe there was just recently a story on Slashdot where commenters were quick to point out [slashdot.org] the Android/iOS split is about 80/15.

Re: For fuck's sake.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899271)

Apple doesn't have a monopoly. Also, there are sure a lot of Google services being used on iPhones. It seems still possible that Google gets more ad revenue from iPhones than Android phones, in the USA market.

driving up the cost of those devices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899023)

Am i missing the part about how setting google to the default has added costs? If they set the default is there some sort of "fee" i am required to pay?

This sure sounds like a lawsuit for lawyers where they get $100MM and we (the actual consumers) get a 5 cent coupon on our next google purchase.

Presumably... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899257)

Presumably, the "added cost" is lost competition, fewer options and a worse experience.

Just like when IE was forced down our throats and Netscape Navigator got killed... it didn't "cost" anything to get IE, but we had a worse experience in the end (and only finally are we in the post IE6 era), had less competition (took much longer to get realistic alternatives to IE), less motivation for MS to improve IE, etc.

We didn't "pay"... but we sure paid in the long run.

Granted... I don't think Google is in near the monopoly position, nor abuses it to the level that MS did. You can get other phones (Apple, BB, MS, etc). You can change most of the defaults (Download other apps and replace the Google Widgets with Bing... if that's your thing...)

Re:driving up the cost of those devices? (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 3 months ago | (#46899413)

The "added cost" is bullshit. What they mean is they couldn't milk revenue from the search provider. But the thing is Google is banking on the OS development which is certainly not cheap. If it was the smartphone vendors would have forked it by now.

Fist we kill all the lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899127)

This is just further proof, as if more were required, that the US legal system is seriously broken.

Good! (1, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46899181)

Good! I'm generally a Google fan, but the default Google search on my phone that I can't remove is annoying to say the least. The voice search garbage that nobody uses makes it even worse. I don't think I'd mind if I could just remove it... but the fact that its locked onto my screen top center and I have no way to ever remove it makes it seem an awful lot like IE was in XP.

Re:Good! (2)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | about 3 months ago | (#46899251)

There are scores of free alternative launchers, all available in the market [google.com] .

Re:Good! (2)

InvalidError (771317) | about 3 months ago | (#46899283)

You can "remove" it by installing an aftermarket launcher screen like Nova.

Just about every "default" app and function can be overridden with aftermarket apps.

Re:Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899603)

I use the voice search all the time and I know many who do as well. I also use other search engine as well as Google and use their widget. There are apps that will let you remove and or hide the Google search bar. If that's not good enough for you or If you don't like it, buy and Apple or Windows or Blackberry phone.

And that's why a GNU/Linux phone needs to happen (2)

ikhider (2837593) | about 3 months ago | (#46899275)

Please allow me to explain. When I first got an Android phone some years back, I was appalled when my service provider told me that I could not update any firmware unless I had Widows. At the time, I was only running GNU/Linux on my desk and latop. My phone would be howling for updates and experienced all sorts of glitches, while I looked for someone with Windows. I wondered, 'how the hell is this a GNU/Linux OS when I need freaking Windows to update it?' Could the service provider not have released a tar ball update? How hard would that be? Then I learned that Android comes loaded with proprietary software blobs. That you have to do pretty much what the service provider wants you to do, and not what you want to do. Also, the Android phone howls for a gmail account or it gets very moody. That is why Replicant is around, but my understanding is that most of the features re disabled (like mobile internet--not wifi) once you install. So I figure, you really have to do what companies say if you want the fraking thing to work, which does not look/feel like GNU/Linux to me. I might as well get any number of other phone OS', like a Windows, Blackberry, or whatever. I am still waiting for a GNU/Linux tablet, phone, and the like. It will happen...any day now...yes..any day...one day...I hope...

Re:And that's why a GNU/Linux phone needs to happe (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#46899403)

Also, the Android phone howls for a gmail account or it gets very moody

Which I solved by creating a new gmail account on the phone, and never using it.

Note that if you should ever feel the urge to email to plokjuy.gmail (I think that's how I spelled the account name), you won't get a response. Ever.

Re:And that's why a GNU/Linux phone needs to happe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46899663)

Also, the Android phone howls for a gmail account or it gets very moody

Which I solved by creating a new gmail account on the phone, and never using it.

Note that if you should ever feel the urge to email to plokjuy.gmail (I think that's how I spelled the account name), you won't get a response. Ever.

The whole point is why should you have to get an email account? Yes you have limited options, you could buy a Apple, Windows phone or whatever. Speaking of Windows and Apple since their in bed with one another, this suit smells like an MS or Apple ploy. It will hit the public's eyes and they'll get anal over Google being a bad company [all three a bad].

If I have to buy the phone I should be able to do whatever I want with it. When they give them out for free, then they can do whatever THEY want, I'll either say f**k it, or find a way to hack the phone. I'll just say someone found it, when I got it back it was like that..

Re:And that's why a GNU/Linux phone needs to happe (1)

SpaceGhost (23971) | about 3 months ago | (#46899505)

There are at least two AOSP flavours that offer nightly updates, Cyanogenmod and Omnirom. The slow updates on android are usually because the carriers want to lock you in to their set of apps/restrictions/spyware and insist on vetting updates. My t-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 has been running KitKat 4.4.2 for months, no thanks to T-Mobile. I would love to see a good GNU/Linux phone option. Maybe OpenBSD, where you make calls with a CLI...

Re:And that's why a GNU/Linux phone needs to happe (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#46899745)

Was that plain android or was that some custom system that samsung or motorolla put out? A lot of those firmwares were pretty awful, some still are.

I really don't understand why they even bother. Approximately NO ONE EVER has said "Oh, I'm going to get a samsung phone, because touchwiz is so much better than regular android!" People who know one custom OS from another generally seem to rip it out as soon as possible and put in a different system, and the vast majority of customers only know it's not an iphone. People don't seem to be upgrading phones because their old phones don't get updates anymore, and if their phone artificially can't update, that's not really good for brand loyalty.

Anyway, as far as GNU/linux phone, I think that will have the same problems that you cite for android: whatever the motivation for manufacturers putting their own crap on top and making it only windows compatible will be true of any phone system UNLESS the manufacturers ARE the people making the OS, like apple or windows.

Not all (1)

slapout (93640) | about 3 months ago | (#46899665)

"It argues device manufacturers enter such secret pacts with Google, called Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADA), because they know consumers expect to see a full suite of Google apps when they buy a device.
The suit does not argue that device manufacturers entered MADAs involuntarily, but that the market power of Google compels them to."

I've seen several Android devices without the play store. So obviously some manufacturers choose not to enter the agreement.

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