Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has responded to the EU’s antitrust fine regarding Android. The blog post is exactly what you’d expect – a lot of fluffy language about how amazing Android is and how it helps little kids pet bunnies and all that stuff, with remarkably little substance. There’s really no actual reply to the three core claims in the EU ruling, which makes the response rather weak.
One part stood out to me though.
The phones made by these companies are all different, but have one thing in common – the ability to run the same applications. This is possible thanks to simple rules that ensure technical compatibility, no matter what the size or shape of the device. No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules – they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks.
This hits at the core of the ruling, because according to the EU, established through years of research and verifiable through leaked copies of the agreements Google signs with Android device makers, the very problem is that Android bans Android device makers from making or shipping Android devices that do not use Google’s version of Android. Pichai seems to claim here that that’s not true, but this is something that ought to be easily verifiable, and I doubt the EU would hand down this fine if the agreements between Android device makers and Google didn’t clearly specify this.
We’ll have to wait and see if Google can substantiate all of this, because if not, Pichai just flat-out lied in an official statement from the company.