Android is becoming a monopoly and that could be a problem

July 31, 2014
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android feature JD Hancock

Android has truly become an authority in the mobile market. A powerful operating system that costs nothing to the manufacturer and brings unlimited options to the consumer is hard to beat, a fact that is confirmed by last quarter’s marketshare reports. Google’s mobile OS has reached another milestone during Q2 2014, during which the Mountain View giant shipped 85% of all smartphones!

This comes as great news to us Android aficionados, but the rest of the market is not very happy. Google’s victory can, in part, be thanked to iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry losing marketshare. As with anything else, such a substantial success is bound to turn some heads, and some of those may be holding eyes you don’t want looking at you.

European authorities are said to be looking into investigating the Search Giant for its overwhelming advantage over other mobile platforms. This investigation would carry through if Android was to ship over 80% of devices within the European nations, which currently isn’t the case. Android devices account for 73% of shipped devices within said continent.

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Google is walking on thin ice here. A full-blown investigation on Google’s possible monopoly could bring some serious consequences for the operating system we all love and treasure. How would this case conclude, though? We could argue Android’s monopoly is a natural succession of how great and convenient the OS is. Most of us would say Google does compete fairly.

In fact, the European market may not be so worried about how many Android smartphones are out there. Sources familiar with the matter tell Reuters European regulators are more worried about Google’s practices, inquiring they are abusing their obvious dominance in the market.

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A clear example is that Google does require that manufacturers pre-install certain applications, like Maps and Search. That is, unless they want to steer clear of Google services, much like Amazon has done with its Fire smartphones and tablets.

It’s hard for other manufacturers to offer a good experience with no official support, though, especially because Google Play Store accessibility requires that manufacturers follow certain standards (including the addition of said apps). Certain software updates also demand these pre-requisites.

Is Google taking advantage of its position? Some may believe they are, but we must also remember this is why Google created Android as a free, open ecosystem. They wanted to bring their services to as many users as possible, and offering Android as a free alternative proved to be a successful way to do so.

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