Google Faces Lawsuit For OEMs Making 'Google Search' as Default in Mobiles
By Judith Aparri | May 10, 2014 10:47 AM EST
REUTERS/David W Cerny/Files
A Google logo is reflected on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in this file photo illustration taken in Prague January 31, 2014. Google Inc's GOOGL.O Internet business revenue grew 19 percent in the first quarter, as its expanding volume of online ads offset declining prices, April 16, 2014.
Hagens Berman, a consumer rights' law firm, has filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, against the Mountain View, California search titan, claiming it illegally monopolized the American Internet and mobile search and called this activity as "market manipulation."
Through a clandestine Mobile Application Distribution Agreements (MADA), Google has reportedly maintained its search monopoly by persuading the makers of mobile devices to preload its array of apps like YouTube and Google Play. This is a shackle to the mobile market being anti-competitive. It eventually makes price of devices high, harm the consumers and may bring adverse effects to search innovation.
Device makers, under the secret MADA, are allegedly required to include applications like Set-up Wizard, Gmail, Google Phone-top Search, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Talk, Street View, Android Market Client, Network Location Provider, Google Voice Search and Contact Sync.
Hagens Berman said Google infringed various federal antitrust laws such as the Sherman Act, Clayton Antitrust Act, California Unfair Competition Law and California Cartwright Act.
According to the lawsuit, if the OEMs are free to select which search engine to put on the devices, the quality of Internet search would be enhanced because the higher the usage of an Internet search gets, the better the performance becomes.
Google's monopoly scheme may put itself and its competitors in an unhealthy competition, where consumers are coerced to a sole option. It can stagnate the market and eventually harm Google itself.
The lawsuit against Google wants to represent all the purchasers of any Android OS device in the U.S. which OEMs Google has any form of contract with to preload its suite and applications, and such become like a mandatory thing to the manufacturers. The lawsuit also seeks damages for those who have bought devices which were priced high because of the alleged fixing of the Mountain View search giant.
Hagens Berman encouraged those who are concerned to contact them by email. Google has commented on the lawsuit saying anyone can use Android without Google and vice versa.
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