Judge quashes Android app anti-trust case against Google

A judge has thrown out an anti-trust case against Google, ruling that by preinstalling its own apps on Android handsets manufactured by Samsung, HTC and others, the search giant is not harming customers.

The case was filed by two consumers, who claimed it was unfair Android smartphone manufacturers were required to include Google's suite of apps including YouTube, Google Drive and Google Maps by default.

It added that restricting competitor software such as Microsoft's Bing search engine resulted in less choice for consumers and stunted innovation.

The claimants' lawyers said: "Simply put, there is no lawful, pro-competitive reason for Google to condition licences to pre-load popular Google apps like this."

However, US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled: "Their alleged injuries - supra-competitive prices and threatened loss of innovation and consumer choice - are not the necessary means by which defendant is allegedly accomplishing its anti-competitive ends."

She also said the plaintiffs did not sufficiently make the link between software requirements and phone pricing, showing they had not completely explored the market.

"There are no facts alleged to indicate that defendant's conduct has prevented consumers from freely choosing among search products or prevented competitors from innovating," Freeman concluded.

The complainants now have three weeks to amend their complaint and present it back to the judge if they wish to pursue the case.

Last week, Russian search engine Yandex filed an anti-trust complaint against Google, saying it was unfair the company was allowed to have its services preinstalled on devices, while Yandex's services aren't.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.