Google accused of abusing its mobile dominance in the EU

It has been suggested that the US firm has been forcing its apps on users and phone manufacturers

Google accused of abusing its mobile dominance in the EU

Mark Lennihan / AP

The European Union has opened a new front in its ongoing battle with Google, by alleging that it has manipulated app markets by abusing the dominant position that its Android operating system has established.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the charge, saying, "Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google’s behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players."

"By requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers," she continued.

It is estimated that 77% of EU smartphone users are on Android devices.

The EU has a separate antitrust case regarding allegations that Android's app store gives preferential treatment to its own apps in the Android Play Store.

It has been reported by multiple sources including Bloomberg and Reuters that the US is considering launching a similar antitrust case against Google.

The Commission has the power to impose a fine of up to 10% of Google's earnings last year, which would run to billions of euros.