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Google Could Face EU Android Antitrust Charges Very Soon

April 15, 2016, 1:33 PM UTC

Google (GOOG) could soon find itself facing more antitrust charges in Europe, this time over the way it runs the Android mobile platform.

The company has been under investigation for years now, on several fronts. It has already been hit with charges for allegedly boosting its own comparison-shopping services in its search results.

The European Commission has also been formally investigating Google over a range of Android allegations, namely that it forces smartphone and tablet manufacturers to preinstall a suite of Google services (such as the Play Store, Maps, and Gmail) on their Android devices.

It also allegedly bans manufacturers that install Google services from developing alternate versions of Android.

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Now, according to lawyers talking to both the Financial Times and Politico, the Commission has been sending out urgent requests for information from the complainants in the investigation.

That suggests competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is about to move to the next stage of the process by issuing formal charges—a so-called statement of objections—perhaps as early as next week.

The case has very strong parallels with a recent case in Russia, in which the competition authority decided Google had broken antitrust laws with the way it runs Android. Local rival Yandex (YNDX), the chief complainant in the Russian case, has also given evidence to the EU investigators for their case.

Even if Google ends up facing two sets of charges in the EU, there’s still a chance that even more could lie on the horizon.

The Commission has also been looking into complaints from the likes of Yelp (YELP) and TripAdvisor (TRIP) over the way Google boosts its own services in local searches, and allegations about unfair advertising contracts and the scraping of content from rival services.