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Google defends Android phone maker deals, denies carrot and stick tactics

Image used for representation purpose.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Alphabet unit Google on Tuesday said deals with Android phone makers that landed it a record 4.3-billion-euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine boosted competition and rejected EU charges that they were a carrot-and-stick tactic that stifled rivals.

Google was addressing the second day of a week-long hearing as it tries to get Europe's second-highest court to annul the fine and a European Commission order to make it loosen its search engine grip on Android devices.

Lawyers for Google and the EU competition executive clashedover the company's Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADAs) that require phone makers (OEMs) to pre-install the Google Search app and Chrome browser app in return for licensing Google Play for free.

"This licensing model is what attracted OEMs to the Androidplatform, and what enabled those OEMs to offer a consistent andhigh-quality user experience at the lowest possible price,"Google's lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the General Court.

"People use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to," he said.

Also Read: The Hindu Explains | The three recent antitrust cases against Google

Commission lawyer Carlos Urraca Caviedes rejected the argument, calling the deals and other restrictions Google's carrot-and-stick policy towards phone makers.

"These helped Google ensured its competitors would not achieve critical mass to challenge its dominance," he told the court.

He also said such deals were unnecessary in view of the market power of Google, the world's most popular internet search engine, and its significant number of users.

Urraca Caviedes said what Google did "goes beyond what is necessary to develop and maintain the Android platform".


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 2:33:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/google-defends-android-phone-maker-deals-denies-carrot-and-stick-tactics/article36711940.ece

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