The Chinese suit is probably payback for Huawei being denied access to Android OS licenses.
China is preparing to launch an antitrust probe into Google, looking into allegations it has leveraged the dominance of its Android mobile operating system to stifle competition, according to Reuters.
Telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies proposed the case last year. The action is currently with the country’s top market regulator to the State Council’s antitrust committee for review.
Huawei was singled out by the Trump Administration
The fact that Huawei is behind the antitrust action appears to be in direct response to US President Trump’s 2019 ban on Huawei being able to receive official licensed versions of Google’s Android smartphone operating system. Android is an open source platform, so Huawei can technically still ship phones with Android OS.
However, built-in Google apps such as Gmail, Google Play Store and Google Maps are only available in the licensed version of Android.
Google apps are banned in China, so the lack of a licensed Android OS will not affect Huawei in its domestic business. However, the lack of Google apps will almost certainly hurt Huawei’s international sales.
What’s more, since the Android ban only affects Huawei and not other Chinese smartphone manufacturers, the company’s competitors such as Vivo Communication Technology, Oppo Mobile Telecommunications and Xiaomi will gain an overall competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, back in the US …
The U.S. Justice Department is expected to sue Google as soon as next week. The Department of Justice is currently urging state attorneys general to sign onto the lawsuit, Reuters reports.
The U.S. antitrust lawsuit addresses several areas, starting with Google’s “search advertising”. Google controls the sale of the space under these searches, as well as the tools to make those ad sales.
Politics may be driving the Trump administration’s vigorous pursuit of Google. Attorney General Barr and others have long complained that social media companies, including Google’s YouTube, have stifled conservative voices.