Let’s Talk About Android – Observations on Competition in the Field of Mobile Operating Systems
German Version: NZKart 2014, 378 - 386
48 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2014 Last revised: 12 Oct 2014
Date Written: July 4, 2014
The paper examines whether the royalty-free distribution of the Android OS and the Google Mobile Applications Suite (GMS) is in line with competition law, in particular with Article 102 TFEU. The author takes a look at Google's business model and at the contractual framework of Android mobile OS and GMS licensing. He assesses market definition and competition on the markets for mobile OS and mobile apps. Then he turns to the crucial question of abuse of market power. First, he analyses whether royalty-free licensing of open source software can constitute a price-based exclusionary conduct or even predatory pricing in a two- or multisided environment. Then he turns to the question whether licensing all Google apps in a single suite of apps (GMS) constitutes an anti-competitive tying practice or creates pro-competitive and pro-consumer benefits. Throughout the paper the author compares the particularities of competition in the "new" mobile ecosystems to the "old" world of client PC operating systems that formed the background of the Microsoft tying cases.
Keywords: Google, Android, open source, competition, antitrust, tying allegations
JEL Classification: K21, L86
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation