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Google Android Government Your Rights Online

FTC Begins Investigating Google For Antitrust Violations Over "Home Screen Advantage" 151

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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FTC Begins Investigating Google For Antitrust Violations Over "Home Screen Advantage"

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    As much as I wish I could uninstall several apps that come pre-installed with a cellphone/handy, which other major player in the industry does not do the same thing?

    • which other major player in the industry does not do the same thing?

      It doesn't matter. It's not a Google vs. Apple competiion thing. It's the small startup in a garage vs. Google thing.

      • It's not a Google vs. Apple competion thing. It's the small startup in a garage vs. Google thing.

        This is a fundamental attack on Android by its monopoly-seeking competitors. The FTC and the Justice Department let Microsoft barge into everyone's applications business thirty-some years ago and since then intellectual property protection services have reduced "anti-trust" to a threat that only corporate lawyers can make and that no corporation, foreign or domestic, has to take seriously.

        Apple and Microsoft do

        • Please. Microsoft had trouble even fucking closing security holes because norton, etc. kept threatening legal action. And unlike Chrome on Androiud or Safari on iOS, olr Safari on OSX, they couldn't even bundle a browser.

          Apple did have more monopolistic things, but they were less successful on the PC. And they'll be up next if this lawsuit works.

          • That Microsoft has small fires at the borders does not detract from its stunning history of turning "IBM compatibility" in total domination of office workflow. What held it back then and now is only organizational ineffectiveness.

            • Of course they used IBM compatibility to dominate office workflow. They established a couple of monopolies. But they didn't use one monopoly's market power to delve into another. That's what's verboten.

              • But they didn't use one monopoly's market power to delve into another. That's what's verboten.

                That is precisely what they did do and all they have ever done.

                • Well, it's not all they did. Because they needed to get one monopoly a different way. And the Office monopoly they really did get by dint of a superior product. They didn't even bundle Office file readers until... Vista?

                  They tried it for web browsing, and got smacked down.

                  • The first monopoly belonged to IBM. Microsoft took it over. IBM had just signed a punishing agreement with the Justice Department, so they could not extend the IBM brand into new territories in their old, less aggressive way.

                    Microsoft was not so restrained. They obtained code they did not create, wrapped it as their own operating system, sold it to IBM, and muscled their way up from there.

                  • Also. Microsoft did not exactly get "smacked down" by the Unites States Justice Department for claiming that their browser was integral to the operating system, a claim, Ed Felten disproved in ninety seconds in open court. Unable to win, Microsoft crowbarred the Judge off the case and got his ruling voided.

                    Also, Microsoft did not develop its own "Office Suite." They bought the number two or number three brand in spreadsheets, in word processing, etc., and warned everybody, especially corporate and governmen

  • Non-removable apps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:48AM (#50603669) Homepage Journal

    The problem isn't the requirement to include Google's other apps. The problem is that they're non-removable. If new phones came with just as much junk pre-installed, but if it were installed as if the user had downloaded and installed the apps themselves, then it wouldn't be a big deal.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by msobkow ( 48369 )

      And iOS and WinPhone don't have any non-removable components, right?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Atzanteol ( 99067 )

        Fanboi alert.

        Like I tell my kids - it doesn't matter what other people are doing if what you are doing is wrong.

        • by msobkow ( 48369 )

          A fanboi who doesn't own a smell phone of any kind? *LMAO*

          • by worf_mo ( 193770 )

            A fanboi who doesn't own a smell phone of any kind? *LMAO*

            A smell phone? This stuff exists? Does it require the user to wash their hands after each use?

        • Fanboi alert.

          Like I tell my kids - it doesn't matter what other people are doing if what you are doing is wrong.

          So you would tell your kids they are doing it wrong because they sell your wife's cookies at their lemonade stand instead of your neighbor's when The Man From Government comes around?

        • in this case it kind of does.

          if the argument is such, why are the other 2 companies not also being looked into for the same thing?

          you can delete them off the home page...so i dont see really what the problem is, it goes in the drawer which after setting up the home pages you open what, once every few months??
      • This.

        Like every goddam Dell, Compaq, HP, Sony, Toshiba, e-Machine, etc. didn't ship with Windows®.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't see this as a problem at all, since Android is open source. If you don't want to include Google's services you can simply folk it, which is exactly what companies like Xiaomi and OnePlus have done. Google effectively gives you the option to install Android with their services, or your own version of Android without Google's services.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msobkow ( 48369 )

      The simple bottom line is that no one is "forced" to use Android. Apple wrote iOS. Blackberry used QNX. Microsoft wrote WinPhone. There are Mozilla's efforts, Ubuntu's, and another Linux-based project whose name I forget at the moment.

      Unless and until you are "forced" to use Android for your phone's OS, you can't claim Google has a monopoly and therefore you have no right to complain about them having licensing terms of their choice for their products.

      This whole situation is just a bunch of greedy

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No one was "forced" to use IE on Windows either, you could freely use Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and many others. Still the bundling was hit with a EU anti-trust ruling as an unfair advantage for Microsoft (and to pre-empt; no, the "integration" of IE in Windows was not in any way part of the EU ruling, only the unfair bundling advantage, just like this case).

        What people don't seem to realize is that anti-trust regulation doesn't require the absolute monopoly situation you argue they don't have, it is

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by msobkow ( 48369 )

          I'm betting that if Windows had come bundled with IE right from it's initial release as Android did with it's tie-in products, there wouldn't have been an issue. The problem is Microsoft added IE and then tied it in to the OS so tightly you couldn't get rid of it.

          Android succeeded despite (because of?) the bundled apps. But it has been a level playing fields since it's initial release, so no one can complain that some competing vendor had an unfair advantage over the others.

          Face it: success breeds in

        • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @02:07PM (#50604269)

          No one was "forced" to use IE on Windows either, you could freely use Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and many others. Still the bundling was hit with a EU anti-trust ruling as an unfair advantage for Microsoft (and to pre-empt; no, the "integration" of IE in Windows was not in any way part of the EU ruling, only the unfair bundling advantage, just like this case).

          There was a thriving market for web browsers which was developing in the early days of the web. Netscape (founded by the folks who made NCSA Mosaic) originally cost you $40. Then Microsoft pulled the rug out from that market by bundling IE for free - effectively using profit from Windows to subsidize development of their own browser and preventing any other browser maker from being able to financially compete with it. That's why Microsoft got tagged for anti-trust violations.

          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            There was a thriving market for web browsers which was developing in the early days of the web. Netscape (founded by the folks who made NCSA Mosaic) originally cost you $40. Then Microsoft pulled the rug out from that market by bundling IE for free - effectively using profit from Windows to subsidize development of their own browser and preventing any other browser maker from being able to financially compete with it. That's why Microsoft got tagged for anti-trust violations.

            That also ignores another browse

        • in retrospect it was a dumb lawsuit as well
      • by Zumbs ( 1241138 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @12:12PM (#50603911) Homepage
        If I pay for a phone, I *expect* to have the ability to remove any single program on it, and that is what crow was writing about. Phone manufacturers have choices, but it reeks of strong arming when wanting to include the largest Android app store results in a requirement that the manufacturer include a number of other apps *and* prohibits users from removing them. And yes, like it or not, while there are other choices, Android is in the same dominant position on the phone/tablet market as Windows is on the desktop market, and lack of access to Google Play is a deal breaker for many looking for a new phone.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @03:08PM (#50604483) Homepage

        Unless and until you are "forced" to use Android for your phone's OS, you can't claim Google has a monopoly and therefore you have no right to complain about them having licensing terms of their choice for their products.

        The focus on monopolies and anti-trust is an American thing, in the rest of the world it's usually called competition law. I don't know the US legislation but here in Norway they simply say "dominating position" and with a 40% market share as a typical minimum before they will intervene against anti-competitive practices. And in this case you're not even looking at the right market, Android users can't shop in iOS or WP stores. The alternatives are the Play store and a few third party stores that are well hidden behind warning signs that 99% of the market won't use. One of the practices that may be considered anti-competitive is:

        "d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to the other parties accepting additional obligations which, by their nature or according to customary commercial usage have no connection with the subject of such contracts."

        You want the app store? Well you also need to install our browser, mail app, map app etc. is exactly the kind of bundling this is supposed to prevent. Say there's one dominating supplier of fresh milk to your grocery store, the rest would have to ship from far away at great expense and not all that fresh. And the supplier says if you want our milk, you'll also have to exclusively sell our bread, fruit and vegetables even though there's plenty competition there. That's illegal. Then again, they have no problems with a McDonald's franchise regulating that you exclusively sell McD food under the McD brand. It's the context you do it in that determines if it's an anti-competitive practice or not.

        Personally I think it's a close call, but if IE and WMP were anti-competitive enough to intervene at least here in Europe then I wouldn't be surprised if they could win. I'm kinda surprised they're testing this on Android and not the iPhone/iPad though, where Apple has a much more blatant anti-competition policy.

        • by msobkow ( 48369 )

          If you want to go with a grocery store example, I think a better example of what Google is doing is a "loss leader" product that is sold at a loss or given away in order to bring in business for the marked up products. At least in Canada and the US, that is not illegal.

          You also have to remember that there were commercial browser products being sold for Windows at the time IE came out. Not only did Microsoft bundle IE with Windows, they did so for free, taking away the sales for those for-purchase produ

        • Android is only the dominate player because everyone stopped writing their own software and started freeloading off of Google.

          Now they want to freeload off of Google AND not allow Google to profit from it.

          If it doesn't benefit Google, why exactly does Google want to support Android?

          Android isn't free, thats the first mistake people make. It just doesn't cost any cash up front, but you pay by turning your data/customers over to Google right out of the box. At no point was this hidden from anyone.

          I really d

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "The problem isn't the requirement to include Google's other apps. The problem is that they're non-removable."

      Exactly the same as the crapware the carriers and phone manufacturers force on us. I'd be fine with all of it, if the user had the ability to uninstall it (and then make use of the space it occupied).
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      I have a Galaxy Note4 running KitKat and I can disable most pre-installed apps, including Google ones. They can't be removed because they are stored on the read-only system partition but it is as close as you can get.
      If you root, then you can truly uninstall every app. However, the reclaimed storage space is likely to be of little use because, as I said earlier, it is on the system partition.

      • Lollipop is supposed to solve this. It introduces a mechanism where the manufacturer installs the default apps (other than essentials like the dialer and Google Play Store) to the user partition, and a factory reset loads the default apps into Google Play Store's list of apps to redownload once it sees Internet access. I'm surprised that manufacturers hadn't introduced an equivalent mechanism earlier.

        • If you use a ROM without google play baked in to begin with you can solve it yourself by installing a "micro" (etc.) gapps zip which includes just google play services and the play store. This is not strictly legal, but Google doesn't appear to be interested in going after anyone for it.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @01:54PM (#50604237)

      The problem isn't the requirement to include Google's other apps. The problem is that they're non-removable.

      They're completely removable. Just grab the AOSP release of Android. If you don't want to mess with compiling, the volunteers at CyanogenMod do an excellent job releasing pre-compiled binaries for most devices. Then you can run it sans-Google, or install the Google apps bundle if you wish (a lot of people want Android with the Google apps, but without the crud their carrier force-installs on their phone).

      What's that? You don't want to go to all that trouble? Well Google went to all the trouble of making Android and releasing it in both open source and their proprietary versions. They're not charging you any money for their proprietary version - the only price they charge for you being spoon-fed is that the Google apps are bundled with it.

      If Android were in fact a monopoly, how exactly would you propose breaking it up? By splitting the OS from the bundled apps. Except Google has already done that by making it open source. I don't know how more anti-monopoly you can get than releasing your entire OS as open source. The only thing stopping anyone from making or releasing their own version of Android without the bundled Google apps is literally their own laziness. What if Microsoft had released the code for Windows as open source? What if Standard Oil had released all the data and plans for finding oil and building your own drilling derrick? What if AT&T had released, free of all copyright and patent encumbrances, all the plans for making phones and switching exchanges which were plug compatible with their network?

      The fact that Google releases an open source version of Android in parallel with their own version lets you see what's really going on here. Several companies have tried using AOSP to make their own version of Android - Amazon, Barnes and Noble, many Chinese vendors, and now Blackberry. None have been as successful as Google. That tells you that it isn't Android which is making Google's apps successful. It's Google's apps which are making their version of Android successful. Precisely the opposite of the FTC investigation's premise. Barnes and Noble's customers in particular begged them to add the Google Play store, which they eventually did.

      • I'd be happy to pay some money and be able (with officially supported methods, not rooting or the such) to remove all non-essential apps. It'd also be nice if they removed any data gathering except what I explicitly allow
        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

          I'd be happy to pay some money and be able (with officially supported methods, not rooting or the such)

          If unlocking, rooting etc. your device is not officially supported, then you screwed up, by buying a locked down device. Next time, choose a better Android device.

        • I'd be happy to pay some money and be able (with officially supported methods, not rooting or the such)

          Not sure about the current generation but on the previous generation of Nexus devices rooting is an officially supported method. The instructions for rooting the device were published on Google's official support page. It involved using ADB and a one line command for a program distributed with the SDK.

      • The problem is Google's tying policy: "If you add Google Play Store, you also have to add all our other crap and make it non-removable."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Device builders are free to package their own apps as well, Samsung includes apps all the time that duplicate the required google ones but are a Samsung offering.

    • Yea they can remove google app's if they want and do what Amazon does. Nothing forces those companies to have them on the device.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is stupid. Google gives away base Android. Apple has total control over their OS and the entire process. How can Google be Antitrust compared with Apple? I am curious to see some type of argument that makes sense. Why don't these handset owners make their own operating system and dump Android? Why don't they install iOS instead...hmm...wait...? The fact that maps, mail and other features are needed for a phone to have value and the lack of investment by handset makers in these technologies is no

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:56AM (#50603687) Homepage Journal

    Only Apple does it whole-hog: They control the whole ecosystem (ignoring jailbreakers).

    At least Google lets phone-vendors ship "just" the OS if they want to.

    While I appreciate this investigation, the government shouldn't single out just Google.

    • At least Google lets phone-vendors ship "just" the OS if they want to.

      That, right there, is exactly why what they're doing is not the same thing. In a nutshell, here's the important distinction:
      - Apple: Developers, if you want to work with our phone, you'll play second fiddle to our apps.
      - Google: Developers, if you want to work with any phone that includes our app ecosystem, you'll play second fiddle to our apps.

      Companies (generally) aren't compelled to open their products up to additional sources of competition, any more than McDonald's could be compelled to sell Whoppers f

  • Just one app (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:56AM (#50603691) Homepage Journal

    What I want is a phone with just one pre-installed app: Setup. This setup app would recommend apps for various things like: App store, email, web, texting, contacts, camera, music, ebooks, etc. It would have recommendations for each, of course, but you could decide what makes sense for you.

    They could still recommend all the same junk that they pre-install today, but without annoying their customers as much, while still getting some revenue from the app pushers.

    This would also mean they wouldn't get complaints about using up so much of the built-in storage for the OS.

    • by grahammm ( 9083 )

      And I wish that updates to he build-in apps (not just those from Google) would be installed into the same partition as the built-in ones rather than taking up space (and why does almost every update have to be more memory hungry than the last?) in the user-installable app partition.

    • What I want is a phone with just one pre-installed app: Setup. This setup app would recommend apps for various things like: App store, email, web, texting, contacts, camera, music, ebooks, etc. It would have recommendations for each, of course, but you could decide what makes sense for you.

      If that's what you want, then there's nothing stopping you from doing it. Go grab the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) code, make your desired changes, and release it.

      What's that? You want someone else to do this

      • by crow ( 16139 )

        I'm not selling phones. I want the people selling phones to do it. The system I described would, in some ways, be like the browser selection that the EU forced on Microsoft Windows.

      • Go grab the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) code, make your desired changes, and release it.

        That would be copyright infringement if the desired changes include Google Play Store without other Google apps.

  • by Crowd Computing ( 4269575 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:59AM (#50603711)

    I find this confusing. Competitors are complaining that Google has an unfair home screen advantage, but they still want branded Android? Why can't they just do what Amazon and the Chinese gadget manufacturers have been doing, create their own Android fork? I've seen Chinese tablets and smartphones themed to look iPhones, WinPhones or some even more horrible hybrid of both, and some of them are even exported with the internationally useless Chinese apps still intact.

    FWIW I'm running Cyangogenmod 12.1 without any Google web-based apps. So it's possible to have a fully functional Android device without the Google imprimatur.

    • I'm not sure that it's Samsung, HTC, LG etc that is complaining here since TFS mentions that the complaints are made by "mobile application makers". Could be that TFS has gotten it wrong or it could be that it's actually app makers that have made the complaints and not the hardware makers.
  • Counterclaim (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @11:29AM (#50603795)

    What should serve as a very easy counter claim is the millions of Android phones on the market in China without and Googlisation at all. Claiming a phone is less valuable due to a lack of Google apps is just flat out wrong when you look at the Chinese market. The existence of several products in the west which ship with alternate app stores, and even whole Android platforms without google stuff pre-installed (e.g. Amazon's devices) should make this an open and shut case.

  • The thing I don't like about Android is the almost daily updates for all the various apps. The ones I use should be updated. Most of Google's apps I do not use. Yet, they get updated on an ongoing basis. Then, after updating I'm notified that the apps were just updated. That part is annoying as hell. I think it's stupid to both notify me that an update is going to be installed and then separately notify me after it was just installed. This is old news, much like the old Francisco Franco is still dead SNL ro
    • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
      Except, you can turn off either/both of those notifications in the store settings.
  • They need to go after HTC, AT&T, Samsung etc... for baking in and not allowing users to remove their add on crap. Any app that is baked in the rom and cant be deleted is SCUMBAGGERY.

    But then a locked bootloader is also Scumbaggery at it's highest degree.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is probably these device companies, carriers, and other people who want a piece of the users' phones who are prodding FTC to investigate. They want to replace more Google apps, and tilt the underlying platform further to their advantage, while still passing CTS so they get Play Store access. They may not even care about the result of the investigation, just want to harass Google as part of a bargaining process.

      One purpose of the FTC is to prevent "collusion", which has evolved a complicated legal defin

    • This is an antitrust investigation, not a scumbaggery one. That is down the hall to the left.

    • by swv3752 ( 187722 )

      Yeah, what of all the Carrier and Vendor pre-installed crap. It all sits right there next to the Google apps. No one uses them because they are crap.

      I remember an old phone (Infuse I think) where there was an AT&T map application that required some monthly fee to use. Who would use that when there was Google Maps sitting right next to it. I ended up using Waze instead.

      Look at what the industry was like 10 years ago. You paid out the nose for a custom ring tone. Remember those locked in app stores

  • It's not possible to uninstall the Google Search app from Android. /s

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @12:47PM (#50604013)

    To me, a reasonable solution is to:

    1) Not allow all those ancillary apps to be a part of the OS image on the system partition. If they want them pre-installed, that is fine. But the user should be able to completely remove any app they want (not just "disable" them).

    2) Allow as much 3rd party replacement as possible. And on this, Google already does a good job- it is easy in Android to use the launcher, browser, camera, app store, file manager, etc, of your choice.

    3) Reduce dependencies- Don't require app or service X for app or service Y to work. This is a little complex and in some ways it is already pretty good in Android and in other ways not so much. I personally think Google went overboard with the Google+ crap. And they certainly are with Google NOW (which in some ways is the ultimate spyware). For example, I was recently being spammed by several Google apps about not having "NOW" turned on... to the point I actually had to block notifications from Google Play Services or something.

    4) Don't have any agreements that prevent vendors from preinstalling whatever apps they want (as long as they are easily uninstallable). (Note- I detest bloatware, but understand why it exists).

    • Don't require app or service X for app or service Y to work.

      The only way I can see for this to happen is if all copies of app or service Y contain a statically linked copy of app or service X. So when a vulnerability is found in app or service X, do you want app or service Y to remain vulnerable?

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        Static linking also plays hell with the LGPL libraries that Android is built on.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Are the LGPL parts part of Android proper or part the Google Play Services (aka "app or service X") that run on top of it?

  • The IBM PC. Then the clones. Then the x86 boxes. Call it what you want. Put in a disk an boot whatever OS you wanted. There was a time you could actually by a PC without any OS on it.

    Android devices (and dare I say Apple devices) should ALL, and simply, be allowed to boot whatever you want. Just like your classic PC.

    If you don't like Android, well, install Ubuntu (and good luck with that). How about Windows-10 or whatever you want. A phone or a tablet should be allowed to put whatever you want on i

  • "the FTC is looking askance at how Google treats its other software products and services (like Maps) in relation to the mobile OS"

    Is there any technical impediment preventing the enduser from removing these software 'products'?
  • This is all about Amazon. They wanted to create an a popular android clone, but are held back by the fact by the restrictive licensing restrictions that Google puts on app software developers and hardware manufactures. Want to built hardware that can load the play store, than you can't build hardware that uses any other android store. Want to pre-load the maps app? Than it must come with google play services which requires the play store. Basically, Google is forcing everyone to accept itself as the mid

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @04:23AM (#50606435)

      Not quite. You're free to distribute the phone with any app store that you want, but it must also include the Google Play Store. What Amazon wanted to do was ship Android with the Amazon app store as their ONLY store. And quite frankly screw em. You can't go to a competitor, strip their primary money maker, and then cry foul when they won't freely give you access to their apps.

      I also see it as a good thing to force Google Play store to exist when preloading Google apps. At least that way there's a simple and clean update path for the individual apps. It's bad enough Android itself doesn't get updated when a new version comes out, the last thing we need is individual apps left behind in some buggy exploitable state.

  • If you're not using Chrome, searching with Google or using another Google web service results in 'pop down' advertisement claiming Chrome is faster than the browser you're currently using. Seems kinda anticompetitive to me...after all Google's search position is far more dominant than their smart phone app store position.
  • I think the logic is actually backwards funnily enough, Google services are what bring people to Android - they aren't choosing Android and having the services come along for the ride.

    Apple does this to a far greater extent, and even prohibits competitors from being made available (Android has a setting enabling the user to install arbitrary software, and more open store rules). Plus Apple has been doing this for longer (think itunes + ipods where they actually did have an effective monopoly which Android

  • Get any Samsung device and, while Google services are present, Samsung's own stuff is front and center. Too bad in case of Samsung's craft, but I accept that someone (Microsoft?) might implement a decent e-mail client, word processor and so on. But in any case, I don't see how making a few apps available, along with any other software manufacturer/career wants to include, is unfair. Maybe unfair in the sense that someone's alternatives are inferior and can not hold their own in side-by-side comparison.

    This

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