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From Antitrust Law Daily, April 22, 2016

Google, Microsoft to withdraw regulatory complaints against one another

By Greg Hammond, J.D.

Google and Microsoft have agreed to withdraw regulatory complaints filed against each other in the United States and abroad, a Google spokesperson has confirmed. The announcement comes just days after the European Commission sent Google a statement of objections, outlining the EC’s preliminary view that Google has breached European Union antitrust rules through restrictions placed on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.

"Our companies compete vigorously, but we want to do so on the merits of our products, not in legal proceedings," a Google spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer. "As a result, following our patent agreement, we’ve now agreed to withdraw regulatory complaints against one another."

The EC sent a statement of objections to Google on April 20, alleging that Google’s restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators constitute an abuse of dominant position in three markets. Google has purportedly breached EU antitrust rules by: (1) requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google’s Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as the default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps; (2) preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code; and (3) giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices.

Google Senior Vice President & General Counsel Kent Walker responded to the EC’s statement of objections, stating that, "We take these concerns seriously, but we also believe that our business model keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices."

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