Federal Trade Commission FTC Shutterstock

Having only just received formal charges from the European Commission’s antitrust investigation, Google’s parent company Alphabet now appears to be under closer scrutiny from the US’ Federal Trade Commission as well. Sources close to the regulator suggest that the investigator has met with several companies to gather complaints about Android. The FTC is examining very similar issues to the European Commission, which mainly revolve around Google’s grip over its Android operating system and if any of its practises constitute anti-competitive behaviour.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the FTC is particularly interested in Google’s arrangements with device manufacturers and wireless carriers which ensure that they provide its search engine and other services out of the box. App developers and other technology companies have complained that Google’s rules around Android apps and its store services are preventing them from competing with the search giant. The FTC has also previously looked into whether or not Google’s search results unfairly favoured its own products and services, but decided against filing a lawsuit back in 2013.

The investigators have not reached any conclusions about the case yet, so the FTC has not even decided whether or not it could take legal action against Google. The sources suggest that the FTC is interested in some of the evidence that has been collected in the European case. Last week, the European Commission launched formal proceedings against Google, accusing it of engaging in anticompetitive behaviour within the Android ecosystem.

Read more:

European Commission opens antitrust proceedings with Google

April 20, 2016

Even so, there are no guarantees that the FTC will reach the same conclusions as the European investigation, as the continent’s antitrust rules are slightly different and offer additional powers to tackle and fine offending companies. Last week, Canadian regulators found that Google had not violated their competition laws, despite looking at similar evidence to that seen by the FTC and EU reglators over the multiyear investigation.

Alphabet looks to be facing another tough year of legal duelling ahead. Neither the FTC nor Alphabet has commented on the matter.

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.
  • Modman

    Tell those bums to look into apple. They are a Monopoly.

    • Toukale

      17% market shares and they are the only maker and oem of ios and iPhone. I don’t see how you can type this with a straight. The only thing Apple have a monopoly on is profits, last time I check there is no law against that. Don’t let your emotion or support for a company get the best of you.

      • Modman

        Whatever turn a blind eye to how they ipodded the mp3 industry. Or ipadded the tablet industry. Those scum haven’t created a single thing. They freely steal other companies patents and sue other companies for stealing the same patents they stole from them. After all apples stolen intellectual property belongs to them. They are in bed with Doj and the broken patent system. They gladly take credit for things other companies create. They never had any innovation and never will. Steve Jobs good artists borrow great artists STEAL!!.
        THEY ARE FING CROOKS! Only those scumbags could get away with suing Samsung for rounded edges and rectangle tablets. They were threatened by better android tablets with more features. Many companies have gone out of business because of their noncompetitive lawsuits. They are bad for business, advancement of technology.

        • Toukale

          what? Take a deep breath, feeling better now? Good, you can thank me later. You are welcome btw.

    • That One Guy

      Apple is a closed OS anyway. The reason Google is getting into so much trouble is because android is open source. Which mean technically, Google does not own it so they can not force people to install their apps in order to use the play store. Apple is allowed to be locked down because it was started as a locked down OS.

      • zeth006

        Apple is a closed OS anyway.

        No, that’s not the reason Apple isn’t being investigated (yet). It has nothing to do with with the code, it has everything to do with the way Google’s bundling of its OS with its irremovable services constitute a tying agreement. Microsoft similarly got into a lot of trouble many years ago for bundling IE with Windows and making it impossible to uninstall.

        • That One Guy

          I did not say code (how it is written). I spoke about app installment in order to use GPS. I did not think I had to explain every detail but I guess I do for some people. Ha

          • zeth006

            No, your reasoning is convoluted and it’s rife with factual inaccuracies. Google does NOT own GPS. Most of those satellites are owned and administered by the federal government. If you’re referring to its suite of apps including Google Maps, again, this lawsuit falls under tying agreements as covered under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Google is requiring Android licensees to bundle its apps as a condition of its usage.

          • That One Guy

            Lmbo! You are clueless! GPS ( Google play services), as in the play store. They do own Google Play services. Wow!!!! You are really smart! Next time try commenting without embarrassing yourself. If course they do not own location tracking gps. Smh! Enjoy your day! The last part is what I said, read boy!

          • zeth006

            Hey, if my not picking up on your obscure usage of acronyms is all you were able to argue against, I’ll accept your comment as an admission you’re conceding I was right all along!

        • Grant Ding

          Yes, but apple does the exact same thing. You can’t uninstall Stocks, Maps, Tips, Health, News, etc, even though there are *arguably* far better alternatives. Even in iOS 10, you can’t fully remove them. But they’re the only company that makes phones with iOS, therefore they have no complaint about the bundling of these apps. Apple being the sole producer of iPhones is part of the reason, right? They’re not forcing other companies to use these apps?

    • Diego

      Can you please elaborate?

      • Modman

        They ipodded the tablet market with stinkpad. Every Moron thinks iPad is the only tablet they can buy. They stole lg pradas design to create iPhone. Stole lg gwatch design to create apple watch. Stole Spotify to create apple music. Sued Samsung for designs they stole from Sony and Lg electronics. Stole tablet idea from Microsoft for iPad. They sell overpriced underspecced devices. They never created a single thing. Had to drink to their falling stocks two days ago. If they ceased to exist a lot of frivolous lawsuits wouldn’t exist.Only apple can patent shapes and colors. Doj won’t look into these scumbags because they are probably paid off by these trolls.

        • Diego

          lmao.
          You ok, brah?
          First of all, the lg praada was based off leeks of the iPhone.
          Second of all, people think the iPad is the only option because every android tablet sucks.
          Seriously, android tablets are underperforming peaces of crap, with the exception being the tablets from google.
          They stole LG watch design?
          Lol.
          Apple has been working on the watch way before LG or samsung.
          They stole spotify to create apple music.
          Dude?
          They aren’t even the same.

          • Grant Ding

            Samsung released their first smartwatch literally a year and a half before Apple did, and were probably designing it for at least 2 years in advance. You can’t say that Apple had been planning and designing a smartwatch for longer than Samsung. And steve jobs probably would have sworn of the idea as stupid like he did with styluses. Or is the word “styli?” I think it is.

          • Modman

            Are you freaking kidding? http://m.tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/google-io-samsungs-gear-live-lg-g-smartwatch-launched-android-wear-226439.html

            If you don’t have factual information go back to your apple blog. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear.

        • Diego

          Apple didn’t actually “steel” the tablet idea from Microsoft.
          Lets look at some history shall we?

          Back in 1993, when apple was fighting to keep going, they invented something called the message pad.
          The first of the message pad had a 6 inch screen, had notes, scheduling, and a calculator, and ran with aaa batteries.
          This tablet used a pen, but the recognition software was terrible.
          After that, everybody elce tried to create a better solution, but it failed.
          That is, until the iPad came along.

          So no, apple didn’t take anything from M$.

          • Modman

            Are you freaking kidding?

            They stole Windows from Xerox and tried to sue Microsoft from stealing it from them. And we’re found guilty.

            They are nothing but crooks who take credit for other companies work.

          • Diego

            Fact, the employees that worked on the idea went to work for apple.
            Fact, those same people convinced steve to go look at the idea.
            Fact, Xerox didn’t care about the idea and gave it up.
            Fact, there was no windows in the 1980s.
            Also, don’t change the topic.

          • Modman

            Whatever Apple is the whiny Bitch who can’t compete and Sue’s everyone. Go get a sausage from your boyfriend Tim Cook.

          • Diego

            That time when android fanboys run out of arguments and start throwing insults.
            Go back to bgr, kid.
            Also, you lost all of your argument when you started insulting people.

          • Modman

            I already have. Your whole life is an insult. You are dillusional because Apple created absolutely nothing!!!! STEVE JOBS SAID GOOD ARTISTS BORROW GREAT ARTISTS STEAL!!! APPLE IS NOTHING BUT A THIEF THAT TAKES ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE COMPUTER ILLITETATE JUST LIKE YOU!!!

          • Diego

            Have a nice day.
            And do your homework before you start talking bs.

          • Diego

            Apple paid for the tech upfront, and made some more changes to make it more useful.

        • Diego

          The rest of your argument is just winy crap.

    • Grant Ding

      No, they just don’t want to be open source. Google is being a little Apple-like in this instance, but Google is supposed to be an open system which promotes competition. That’s why nobody shits all over siri when it doesn’t let you get directions via Google maps rather than Apple maps.

      • Modman

        Sorry about the last post I meant to send it to someone else. Still the fact remains android uses multiple vendors unlike apple. Multiple vendor’s promote competition. The Eu is blind. Apple is worse if android was banned there would be no competition. Google should just include amazon appstore like Microsoft packaged Netscape to get around this. If Steve jobs really destroyed android competition would really be dead.

  • Chris

    I’ll still call them all google and if you. Don’t like it
    Suck me

  • Anothermuse

    Let’s see, Google gives you the operating system for free, as long as you bundle their services in. Users can still chose to use any service they want, though it won’t be native. Or, you can spend the money to creating your own fork Android, which the basic code is also free. Would it solve the problem if Google gave OEM’s the option to pay license fees for the clean OS without google services, or let them bundle the services for free?

    • Toukale

      Google could have easily go the Apple route and they would not be dealing with those investigation. But since going that way would not work great for their business model, they went the open model way. That way, they can get all the benefits of open but keep to themselves the thing that make them money. Every company do this, but in their case, since they embrace an open model, that also open themselves to those investigations. You can’t be open but also putting limits on your competitors (those contracts which restrict those vendors got to go).

    • Mark Kendrick

      I’m sorry I can only up vote this once but if I could it would be like a million

    • Grant Ding

      Unless Google is actually imposing restrictions on third party developers and what they can make available on the app stores, this isn’t anticompetitive. Google isn’t overtly trying to make google play music, books, games, movies, etc. the only media and entertainment apps. Yes, Google play ads on Youtube have become rather heavy, but they have the right to promote their owns services. Spotify does this all the time. It’s only labeled as anticompetitive because of the massive impact of Google and Alphabets influence. The one thing I would change maybe is the “editor’s choice” label on some apps.

  • Chris

    And they are after google because the ceo us an Arab and they want to make sure Sundar doesn’t turn google in to isis

    • Jon Duke

      You do know the difference between arabs and indians, right?

      • Scr-U-gle

        Obviously not!

        I was more surprised he didn’t spell it ‘A-rab’ and punctuate it with a rousing ‘U. S. A.’ chant. ;;-)

        • Andrés Jabois

          Plot twist: indians are not arabs, in fact indians have been fighting with (and being pissed-by) “arabs” since long before we knew them : C

          • youngshyne

            Doesn’t matter ,

        • Modman

          Back again huh? Timmy isn’t satisfying you? I don’t even waste my time in Apple forums because I know it’s garbage.

          • Scr-U-gle

            Are you still pretending to know what you are talking about?

            Nothing really changes, and I did say I don’t want to go large, still not getting the fact you are embarrassing yourself.

    • Diego

      ???????????

  • M42

    Why don’t they do something useful like stopping all the mega mergers (airlines, cable companies) that stifle competition instead of harassing Google?

    • mrochester

      Because Google are also stifling competition, so it’s just another one in a long line of anti-competitive business practices to be sorted out.

  • Toukale

    After the leak docs from WSJ showed that this administration carried some favors for Google it looks bad on them. Now all of a sudden they want to look back into it.

  • Josh

    What the hell is their problem? You can’t tell a company what to do. Throw that anti-competitive crap out. if people don’t want to use Google’s stuff, they look for an alternative. The bigger companies always have the advantage, it has always been that way.

    • youngshyne

      Microsoft had all the advantages in the 90s until smaller companies complained .

  • youngshyne

    Pay back is a b****. Google is a corrupt company, they deserve to be investigated.

    • Modman

      no more corrupt than any other corporation.

  • Tiffany Green

    WTF?
    What an utter waste of resources …..

    Google hands you something for FREE to develop onto your Device! Just make it so that the Consumer has a choice between Stock Android, or using an App which can do the same function of their choice …

    Problem solved! An I don’t care if it’s Android or Apple (let the Consumer decide!)