Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Apr 2013 10:34 UTC
Legal After Microsoft's extortion racket has failed to stop Android, and after Oracle's crazy baseless lawsuit failed to stop Android, and after Nokia adopting Windows Phone failed to stop Android, Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle are now grasping the next straw in their fruitless efforts to stop Android: they've filed an antitrust complaint with the EU, claiming Google unfairly bundles applications with Android.
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Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

lemur2,

"They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do."

Google might make it easy for competitors to rebrand and sell android, but I don't think that view of competition would gel with the spirit of antitrust law - switching to android makes google stronger. Consider that if google charged for android's true & non-monopoly-subsidized costs, then competing operating systems would begin to look more attractive to vendors, some of whom would begin defecting from android in favor of alternatives. In other words, more competition, which in theory could be better for consumers. I'm not really sure how I feel about predatory pricing since, even after careful consideration, it seems to me that it is a painstakingly difficult line to draw.

Edited 2013-04-10 06:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

lemur2,

"They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do."

Google might make it easy for competitors to rebrand and sell android, but I don't think that view of competition would gel with the spirit of antitrust law - switching to android makes google stronger. Consider that if google charged for android's true and non-monopoly-subsidized costs, then competing operating systems would begin to look more attractive to vendors, some of whom would begin defecting from android in favor of alternatives. In other words, more competition, which in theory could be better for consumers. I'm not really sure how I feel about predatory pricing since, even after careful consideration, it seems to me that it is a painstakingly difficult line to draw.


Android is actually the product of the Open Handset Alliance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Handset_Alliance

The Open Handset Alliance is a consortium of 84 firms to develop open standards for mobile devices. Member firms include Google, HTC, Sony, Dell, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel, Nvidia, and Wind River Systems.

These firms form a consumer cooperative, they split the development costs of Android between them:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative
A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons (or entities) who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit. Cooperatives include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use its services (a consumer cooperative)


This (a consumer cooperative) is a perfectly legal way of doing business. Because it reduces costs for any one participant, is also far more efficient than any single firm trying to carry similar costs on its own.

If Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle want to reduce their costs and compete, they could always join the co-operative. In fact, they don't even have to do that, since the product of the cooperative is offered to everyone (including Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle) to use for free if they want to.

After all, Nokia used to use an open source operating system for its phones:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian

Then Nokia recently chose to switch to Microsoft's Windows Phone OS. It is chutzpah of the highest order for Nokia to abandon its open source OS, switch to the far more costly Microsoft Windows Phone OS, then complain about the low costs of Android.

This is a ludicrous complaint on the face of it, utterly bogus, and painfully obvious that it is. It simply doesn't pass the smell test at all.

Edited 2013-04-10 08:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

lemur2:

"They *can* compete with free. Just take the free code and make it look like your brand and make it do what you want it to do.

Google might make it easy for competitors to rebrand and sell android, but I don't think that view of competition would gel with the spirit of antitrust law - switching to android makes google stronger. Consider that if google charged for android's true & non-monopoly-subsidized costs, then competing operating systems would begin to look more attractive to vendors, some of whom would begin defecting from android in favor of alternatives. In other words, more competition, which in theory could be better for consumers. I'm not really sure how I feel about predatory pricing since, even after careful consideration, it seems to me that it is a painstakingly difficult line to draw.


How could a more costly commercial, proprietary and closed OS, compared to a zero-cost one which anyone can use, possibly be more beneficial for users?

Closed == more expensive, and can contain anti-features.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damaged_good#Computer_software
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walled_garden_%28technology%29

Open == zero-cost, and is guaranteed to preserve user freedoms.

Now you perhaps need to know a little bit about EU antitrust law (also called competition law).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_competition_law
Competition law in the European Union has some similarities with the law in the United States antitrust, though there are some key differences; not least, while US law is designed to protect competitors from the power of monopolies, EU law is designed to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour.


My bold. It is all about what is good for the consumer, not necessarily what is good for companies.

This fact underlines just how ridiculous this complaint is. Consumers are greatly benefited, directly, if 84 companies get together and form a co-operative which provides a consumer product at reduced prices, with guarantees that the reduced price will be permanent. That is absolutely great for consumers, especially when the alternative is far more costly and it enables ant-features such as DRM and walled-gardens which are directly against the best interests of consumers.

Edited 2013-04-10 10:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

lemur2,

"How could a more costly commercial, proprietary and closed OS, compared to a zero-cost one which anyone can use, possibly be more beneficial for users?"

One example: for some users windows is more useful than linux, despite being closed, commercial and proprietary. Of course you and I prefer open source, but even in this space we still should acknowledge that competition is good and monoculture is bad. Ideally we would have entirely different competing implementations and not just forks of the dominant ones.

Edit: Back to this case, going after predatory pricing practices with open source seems bizarre, since open source by it's nature is usually free. Suffice it to say I'll be watching this closely to see how it plays out.

Edited 2013-04-10 14:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Why do you always take a black and white viewpoint to proprietary vs open source software?

It doesn't have to be one or the other. I don't see you complaining that you can't see the source of many of the android applications?

So I can only assume it is because you want a mono-culture of Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 3