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Google under fire from regulators and News Corp for allegedly rigging Android and search markets

Google is coming under ever greater pressure from regulators and competitors to account for its business practices following alleged abuses of its dominance in the search sector and the terms of use phone manufacturers must adhere to when using its Android operating system.

On one flank News Corp has escalated its attack on Google in the form of a formal complaint to the European Commission asserting that Google is abusing its influence over the search market, while the internet giant is simultaneously seeing off an investigation by the European competition regulator into its smartphone dealings.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager warned: “By requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.”

Separately News Corp contends that Google profits unfairly from copying content from other sites and unduly promoting its own news search results over those of its competitors.

Thus far Google has not been cowed by such brickbats however, pointing out that "consumers have the last word on what apps they want to use on their devices."

The spokeswoman also dismissed News Corp’s complaint saying: “Google News and Search send billions of clicks for free to the websites of news publishers. We also work with European publishers to support journalism online and a more sustainable ecosystem for news.”

Google currently enjoys an overwhelming 90 per cent share of the European search market against just 64 per cent in the US, with its Android operating system now found on 80 per cent of all smartphones.

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