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Earlier this year, a bunch of documents came out that seem to show how Google leans on phone makers to use Google services instead of competing services when they licence Android.Among other things, Android chief Andy Rubin told Motorola head Sanjay Jha that using the wireless location service provided by Skyhook was a “stop ship” issue — in other words, if Motorola didn’t abandon Skyhook in favour of Google, Google wouldn’t give its phones the official “by Google” certification.
Now, the Federal Trade Commission is taking a closer look at those practices, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The FTC is also looking at whether Google favours its own Google Places business listings and Google Finance information in search results.
None of these practices are necessarily illegal. In particular, it might be hard to show that Google has sufficient power in the mobile market to foreclose competition — Android is the market leading mobile platform and growing like crazy, but it’s nowhere near a monopoly.
The search claims could have a bit more weight, as Google has 65% share here, and much higher in the rest of the world.