Hariharan Venkateshwaran, B.B.A., LL.B. (Hon’s), LL.M. (European Competition Law and Regulations) Candidate – University of Amsterdam
Google Inc. distributes its proprietary applications to its own open-source Android mobile operating system free of charge; these applications are offered as a suite known as Google Mobile Services. Manufacturers of mobile devices and Google signs the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement in order to install the Google Mobile Services suite on their devices for free. In April 2015, the European Commission stated that Google’s policy of offering Google Mobile Services suite affects competitors or creates a menace to the consumers. But under the economics and economic theories, Google’s practice of distributing the Google Mobile Services suite benefits consumers, as well as manufacturers, mobile carriers, app developers, and advertisers by creating demand, by lessening the danger of fragmentation of the Android OS, and by forestalling Google's competitors from free riding. As an issue of antitrust law, Google does not constrain customers to pay for applications they do not need, and MADA improves competition generally, in accordance to the rule of reason analysis investigation for software tying integration given by the D.C. Circuit in the memorable Microsoft decision. The facts confirm that European competition law shifts in different contexts from American antitrust law; however the premise of economic analysis does not change by jurisdiction. Google's licensing practice has incited competition among Mobile Operating System market and cell phone market. Thus, Google's distribution of free mobile applications through the Google Mobile Services suite ought not to be considered anticompetitive. The Indian Competition regime is nascent in applying software tying under Section 3 read with Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002, as shown in various cases by the Competition Commission of India.
Keywords: Competition Law, European Commission, Android Decision, Tying Arrangement, Mobile Application Distribution Agreement, Anti-fragmentation, Free-riding, Cherry-picking, Four-Element Test, Neo-Classical Economic Theory, Theory of single-monopoly-profit, Google Mobile Services.