Since 2011, Google has been forcing mobile manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG, to sign anti-fragmentation agreements, contracts that indicate that it is forbidden to create a custom mobile operating system from Android.
This is what they have been investigating from the South Korean antitrust control body, an organization that has ended up fining Google with 177 million dollars.
According to South Korea, Google has been in this way blocking the market entry of other mobile operating systems, since it was not possible to customize the android or use a fork of it or change the source code of android in any way.
The contracts analyzed also indicate that it was not allowed to distribute their own software development kits, thus being tied to the “factory” android.
These deals can only be made by a regulatory authority, and Google has been doing so as a private company, causing, according to Korea, the failure of other operating systems created by companies such as Amazon and Alibaba.
In words from the antitrust watchdog, it is “an unprecedented anti-competitive action” that “inhibited innovation.”
The investigations began in July 2016, but the decision has only come out now, more than five years later.
It’s hard comment on this topic if you don’t have access to the research, although I don’t think Amazon’s failure to build “its own android” has anything to do with the agreement that Google had Samsung or LG sign. Huawei has its own operating system, Harmony, and its success or failure will depend on how developers decide to bet on it to create attractive applications so that users decide to bet on that option and not on others.
Having a mobile without Google is a problem when you want to share your location with Google Maps, when you want to make an automatic backup in Google Photos, when you depend on Google Drive, when you want an app store with clean files (in most of cases) of viruses … but if attractive alternatives are offered that are also compatible with other mobiles, the use by users should not represent any problem.
It is easy to blame Google for the lack of innovation by the rest of the companies, it is easy to fine and get easy money, but we must remember that Google is not an immutable omnipresent God, TikTok proves it exceeding visits to YouTube with less than two years of life.