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Android Businesses Google Microsoft Operating Systems Patents The Almighty Buck

Finding Fault With the Low, Low Price of Android 364

Posted by timothy
from the armchair-quarterbacks-and-the-forces-of-envy dept.
bonch writes "Google's accusation of patent abuse toward its competitors has generated many responses, some of which have asked whether Android's free price is anti-competitive. Drawing comparisons to Microsoft's antitrust trial, in which they were accused of giving away Internet Explorer to drive competitors out of the browser market, Thurrott argues that Google's rivals are 'leveling the playing field' through patent fees by removing an artificial price advantage funded by monopoly search revenues. 'One could argue that Google is using its dominance in search advertising to unfairly gain entry into another market by giving that new product, Android, away for free. Does this remind you of any famous antitrust case?'"
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Finding Fault With the Low, Low Price of Android

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  • "Free?" (Score:4, Informative)

    by BeaverCleaver (673164) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @06:54PM (#36991932)

    Isn't this a free-as-in-beer vs. free-as-in-speech argument? I may be way off-beam here but I think Android is open source and IE isn't. So no, this would be nothing like the MS antitrust case.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:08PM (#36992066)

    This entire proposal rests on the assumption that Google has a monopoly in search. Does it? The latest figures [searchenginewatch.com] show Google Search has 63.6% of the market. What percentage of the desktop market did Microsoft have in the nineties when it decided to tie Windows and IE together (in violation of its 1994 settlement with the DOJ)? I'm sure it was at least 90%.. Apparently it was news [computerworld.com] in Dec 1998 when Windows marketshare dropped below 90% "for the first time"...

    There's a big difference between Google's 63% and Microsoft's >90%.

  • Re:Exactly (Score:4, Informative)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:17PM (#36992154)

    I don't think the article or summary writer actually know how anti-trust works. IE being free wasn't what caused the anti-trust case, it was the fact it was bundled to a product that was already considered a very strong monopoly in the market.

    About the only thing that could make Android an anti-trust case is if advertisers were forced to use an android phone to create and administer their ads on Google's services.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:18PM (#36992170)

    The price of Internet Explorer was never the real issue. What created anti-trust problems for Microsoft was telling computer manufacturers that they couldn't install any other browser on the computers they sold.

  • Shill (Score:5, Informative)

    by srh2o (442608) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:23PM (#36992204)
    Paul Thurott is an unabashed shill. Nothing to see here move along
  • by Q-Hack! (37846) * on Friday August 05, 2011 @01:39AM (#36994208)

    No, GP is correct. There were 'complaints' that Microsoft designed Windows to crash Netscape. Back in the late 90's, there were three security patches in a row that caused Netscape to crash. While there was no proof that Microsoft was doing it on purpose, that didn't stop the accusations.

    Those of us, non-conspiracy theorist, just chalked it up to the poor documentation provided by Microsoft on their ever changing system API's.

     

  • by Alistair Hutton (889794) on Friday August 05, 2011 @05:33AM (#36994968) Homepage
    It's in the EULA. It is forbiden to install OSX on non-apple hardware.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSx86 [wikipedia.org]

  • by hey! (33014) on Friday August 05, 2011 @09:06AM (#36995836) Homepage Journal

    You're not incorrect, but you are missing the point.

    What's at issue isn't whether primary monopoly (desktop OS or search) is legally obtained. What's at issue is whether once obtained that monopoly is used to gain monopolies in other markets.

    The issue with the browser isn't primarily the price; it isn't even really whether or not IE was an intrinsic and inseparable part of Windows. The issue in the Microsoft/Netscape case is whether MS used its desktop monopoly power to take control of the market Netscape was in. There's documentary evidence that this was Microsoft's intent.

    So the analogy's validity hinges on this question: did Google use its search engine monopoly to enter the mobile OS market or eject other players from that market?

    I think the answer is no. Google doesn't prevent other mobile OS's such as iOS from using Google services, and the APIs for Google services are open and documented. Google search is the primary search engine on my iPod touch, and GMail, Google Maps and Google Earth all work fine on it. Nor are users of Android devices tied to Google services. One of the hallmarks of Android's architecture is how easy it is to replace built-in services like contact management. It is possible that some handset makers may be tied to Google's services contractually as part of an Android co-marketing or technical support agreement, but if they don't want Android they aren't barred from Google's search. And if they wanted to go their own way entirely, say make a Microsoft service-centric Android phone without Google help, they could, although they'd have to stay clear of using any Google trademarks.

    Having a monopoly in one area does restrict you in others, but not to the point where you have to price and package your products to suit your competitors. It just means you can't use that monopoly to bar access to the market to your competitors.

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