A Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, which launched probe into Google last summer, is reportedly zeroing in on the search company’s relationship with Android handset makers. Sources told the New York Post that the federal investigators have been questioning Google’s legal team about whether the company pressures manufacturers to pre-load their phones with Google apps like Google Maps, Gmail, and Google search.
According to one telecom investment banker, when handset manufacturers make deals with Google to use Android software, they also discuss what apps will be pre-loaded on the phones — and, if they choose to pre-install Google apps, sources said, the manufacturers can arrange for a revenue-sharing deal with the search giant.
However, in an appearance before the subcommittee last month, Google chairman Eric Schmidt claimed that Android phone manufacturers “absolutely” do not have to pre-load Google apps onto their devices, and that not all Android phones even come with Google apps.
Meanwhile, sources told the Post that the FTC — which is currently in the midst of another Google investigation — is “less concerned” with Google favoring its own products during Google searches, and is expected to narrow its focus by the end of the year. According to a “Google rival,” the government may still pursue net neutrality.