The New York Times reports that the regulators of the Federal Trade Commission have a new target at Google: Android. Specifically, according to "two people involved in the [preliminary] inquiry," the FTC is looking askance at how Google treats its other software products and services (like Maps) in relation to the mobile OS. While Android itself can be bundled on phones, tablets, and other devices without charge, Google insists on a trade-off when it comes to its own services, like its app store, Google Play: to include access to those services, without which a typical Android device is far less valuable, hardware manufacturers must also include Google's designated apps (Gmail, Google Maps, and the Google search engine interface). Says the article: In recent months, a number of mobile application makers have complained to the Justice Department that this requirement — the “home-screen advantage” — makes it all but impossible for them to compete in a world where people are spending less time on desktop computers and more time on mobile phones. ... Since then, the F.T.C. has worked out an agreement with the Justice Department to investigate the claims, the people involved in the inquiry said.
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