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Google lawyer says Android helps rather than harms competition

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BRUSSELS: Google’s Android mobile operating system enhances competition rather than hurts it, the company’s general counsel said on Thursday in a rebuttal of EU antitrust charges that it uses the platform to crush rivals.

The comments by Google general counsel Kent Walker on a blog came a week after the U.S. technology group rejected another EU accusation of unfairly promoting its shopping service and blocking competitors in online search advertising.The Android case could potentially be the most damaging for Google. Android has made about $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profit for Google since its release in 2008, an Oracle lawyer told a U.S. court in January.

Android’s market share in Europe is above 90 percent, according to the European Commission.

Walker said the Commission has got the whole case wrong, ignoring both the fierce rivalry with iPhone maker Apple, the demands from apps developers and the dangers of modified versions of Android.

 “The response we filed today shows how the Android ecosystem carefully balances the interests of users, developers, hardware makers, and mobile network operators. Android hasn’t hurt competition, it’s expanded it,” he said.

The case is distorted because the EU competition enforcer does not see Apple’s iOS as a rival to Android, he said.

“To ignore competition with Apple is to miss the defining feature of today’s competitive smartphone landscape,” Walker said.

The company also dismissed the regulator’s concern about the bundling of some of its apps and products, saying that this allows it to offer the package for free instead of charging upfront licensing fees.

Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso confirmed receipt of Google’s response.

The EU antitrust enforcer intends to hit the company with deterrent fines in the Android and shopping cases, according to charge sheets seen by Reuters.

Google faces fines of $7.4 billion, or 10 percent of its global turnover, for each case if found guilty of breaching EU rules.

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