Out of the Box: Illegal Tying and Google's Suite of Apps for the Android OS

13 European Competition Journal 62 (2017)

35 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2020

Date Written: March 22, 2017


This paper analyses Google’s practice of bundling certain smartphone applications together in a single suite that smartphone manufacturers pre-install on their devices, which is currently under antitrust scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions. After describing the low burden of proof faced by the European Commission under European tying law, which diverges from modern economic thinking, this paper shows that there is little evidence that the all-or-nothing clause forecloses competitors. There are also a range of procompetitive efficiencies and justifications that will be unduly punished if the European Commission finds that Google has violated Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In particular, the paper analyses the oft-quoted "out-of-the-box" functionality that Google’s bundle of apps provides users and developers, which will be ignored by a traditional European tying analysis.

Keywords: Google, Android, Two-Sided Markets, Tying, Antitrust, Industrial Organization

JEL Classification: K21, L41, L42

Suggested Citation

Todd, Patrick, Out of the Box: Illegal Tying and Google's Suite of Apps for the Android OS (March 22, 2017). 13 European Competition Journal 62 (2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2875253

Patrick Todd (Contact Author)

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ( email )

Exchange House
Primrose Street
London, London EC2A 2EG
United Kingdom

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