The Administrative Council for Economic Defense (Cade), a watchdog linked to the Brazilian government, has opened an inquiry into supposed anti-competitive practices related to Google’s operational system Android in Brazil. The case is still at an early stage, whose probes may lead to a more sizable investigation.
Cade questions Google about practices adopted by the company considered anti-competitive by the European Commission as part of a case that had a decision released in July last year. Google was fined 4.34 billion euros. Cade wants to know whether these practices also violated Brazil’s economic order and harmed local consumers.
According to the European Commission, Google imposed restrictions on smartphone makers and telecom operators using Android in 2011 in order to “consolidate its dominant position in online searches.” The corporation is said to have made Android lead users to use its own search engine.
Among the practices brought under scrutiny by investigators are the mandatory pre-installation of Google’s own search applications and browser and money payed to manufacturers and operators aimed at ensuring this pre-installation. Google is also said to have banned manufacturers from selling devices with Android versions not authorized by the firm.
Android has become the world’s most used operational system, overtaking Microsoft’s Windows. The operational system reached 88 percent of shares in the mobile market in 2018, as per statistic consultant Statista.
Google’s press advisers told Agência Brasil that Android has “made it possible for millions of Brazilian to connect to the internet by making cellphones more affordable and speeding up their popularization. We will work alongside Cade to demonstrate how Android has enabled the Brazilian market to become more competitive and innovative—not the opposite.”
At the time of the fine imposed by the European Commission, Google released a note on its blog saying that Android “has created more—not fewer—choices.” The company argued that its system competes with operational system iOS, traded in 1,300 brands and 24 thousand devices with different prices.
“The decision also fails to take into account the wide range of options Android offers to thousands of cellphone makers and mobile operators, which create and sell Android devices to millions of app developers across the world, which have built their business with Android, as well as billions of consumers who can now purchase and use latest-generation smartphones,” Google says in its statement.