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Does Google Force Manufacturers to Use Their Services? FTC Thinks So.

Steven Blum

(Picture from

The feds are looking into whether Google puts significant pressure on smartphone manufacturers to only use Google-approved services. 

As reported earlier, Andy Rubin apparantly told Motorola head Sanjay Jha that using the wireless location service provided by Skyhook would be a deal breaker – or, in other words, Google wouldn't give Motorola its "by Google" certification unless it abandoned Skyhook in favor of Google. 

 But this is just one aspect of the investigation, which affects a range of Google's offerings. Google is also being investigated for giving preferential treatment to its own goods and services on its website, and for taking information collected by rival companies, displaying it on their own specialized site and demoting the rivals' services in its own search result.

"We understand that with success comes scrutiny," said a Google spokeswoman. "We're happy to answer any questions they have about our business."

None of these practices are necessarily illegal. It might also be difficult to show that Google has the market leverage to shut down competition. While Android is expanding like nuts, it doesn't have a monopoly on smartphone operating systems.

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  • Di Tao Aug 11, 2011 Link

    I'm so sick of lawsuits and investigations. Wake me up when someone's created a cool, new phone. Yawn.

  • Marvin Cleaver Aug 11, 2011 Link

    Apple's day will come.

  • Adrienne Chan Aug 11, 2011 Link

    If the FTC were even-handed it would look into Apple's anti-competitive practices. On iOS, you are required to get all of your software purchases from Apple's monopolistic App Store. With Android, you can run any software you want and it does not have to come from Android Market Place.

  • Anette West Aug 11, 2011 Link

    Marvin, your position is on shaky ground. Do you really believe that companies should be able to use anti-competitive tactics with impunity just because you appreciate their products? Google is a massive company and neither you nor I know what happens behind the scenes in these meetings with smartphone manufacturers. Doesn't the FTC have a right to look into it and see whether Google is abusing its power?

  • Marvin Cleaver Aug 11, 2011 Link

    Can someone please explain to me how the FTC is doing the American public a favor by investigating Google`? I use Google every day. I love Google docs. So what exactly is the FTC trying to protect me against? And why Google? Who put them up to this? Microsoft? Apple? Those guys have plenty of reasons to hate Google while the rest of us enjoy its free services daily.

  • Android Addict Aug 11, 2011 Link

    Personally, I don't quite understand why companies are suddenly no longer allowed to publicize themselves on their own websites. No one is putting a gun to peoples' heads and forcing them to use Google. FTC could be spending its time doing more important things like, you know, fixing this country's patent laws.