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How to Take Down the Leading Mobile OS: Complain

By Chris Neiger - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:00PM

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Nokia, Microsoft, and others have filed a complaint to the EU Commission over Android's supposed monopoly in Europe.

It may not prove to be the most effective strategy, but some the world's leading technology companies have filed a complaint to the EU Commission that Google's (GOOGL -4.95%) Android operating system is giving the company a monopoly on mobile, search advertising, and consumer data. 

Microsoft (MSFT -0.40%), Nokia (NOK -0.61%), Oracle, and TripAdvisor are teaming up against Google, saying that the company is using Android as a "Trojan horse" to monopolize the mobile marketplace. When it comes to Microsoft and Nokia, it's pretty clear why the two aren't exactly happy with Google's OS dominance. 

Why Nokia's upset
It's not difficult to figure out why Nokia might not be too happy with Android's current position in the mobile market. Nokia has bet the farm on the Windows Phone platform and it's currently battling it out with BlackBerry for more market share in both the U.S. and Europe. You can see below how far the Windows Phone platform has to go in Europe:

Source: TechCrunch. 

The more market share that the Windows Phone platform takes up, the more Nokia benefits. The EU Commission hasn't even agreed to hear the official compliant by the companies, but in theory it could hear the complaint and come down on Google, and break up some of Android's monopoly. That'd be great news for Nokia, but it's also an unlikely scenario.

What Microsoft has to gain
Obviously Microsoft wants to see its mobile platform compete against Android and gain more ground, but that's not all it's concerned with. The big problem Microsoft has with the don't-be-evil company is that Google uses its Android platform to tap mobile users for advertisements. Google is expected to snag $3.36 billion in mobile search advertising in the U.S. this year alone. Microsoft is trying to gain more mobile search advertising through Bing and it's been very public about its thoughts on Google's search advertising practices.

If the complaint can prove that Google has a monopoly on mobile advertising, Microsoft stands to benefit by being the next best option for mobile users. Part of Microsoft's strategy is to topple Google's advertising tower through lawsuits and complaints. The EU Commission is currently looking into another complaint about Google's advertising practices, and this new complaint is just another attempt to unseat the advertising king. 

Easier said that done
It's not likely this complaint, even if it's heard by the EU Commission, will somehow flip Android's OS domination in Europe. But one thing that lawmakers seem keen on listening to is consumer data protection. The latest complaint says that back in April six European data protection agencies began investigating if Google broke EU laws when it consolidated its Google account online policies. It also says that Google had to pay the FTC back in August to settle charges that it misled Safari browser users.

If Google's already painted in a bad light for how it handles user data, the Commission may be more apt to hear the complaint and do something about it -- in the name of consumer privacy protection. Even if some sort of judgement or settlement comes about from this, the Android platform isn't likely to fall apart any time soon, and neither is Google's mobile search dominance.

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Stocks Mentioned

Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$2,119.40 (-4.95%) $-110.36
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
$259.62 (-0.40%) $-1.03
Nokia Corporation Stock Quote
Nokia Corporation
$4.90 (-0.61%) $0.03
Oracle Corporation Stock Quote
Oracle Corporation
$69.03 (-1.44%) $-1.01
BlackBerry Stock Quote
$5.74 (-3.53%) $0.21
TripAdvisor, Inc. Stock Quote
TripAdvisor, Inc.
$22.11 (-6.00%) $-1.41

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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