Thursday, June 2, 2016
UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society Brown Bag Lunch Series:
The Android Case(s):
Wednesday 22 June 2016 (13:00 - 14:00pm)
- Prof. Herbert Hovenkamp, University of Iowa Law School
- Ass. Prof. Alexey Ivanov, HSE Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development
- Dr. Pierre Regibeau, CRA & Imperial College London
- Prof. Ioannis Lianos, UCL Faculty of Laws & Director, CLES
Each seminar is accredited with 1 CPD hours by the Bar Standards Board.
About the seminar
Alphabet’s Google’s contractual (and other) practices with regard to Android, an off-the-shelf Operating system (OS) that Original Equipment Manufacturers can freely install on a cell phone or other computing devices, have been at the centre of the enforcement attention of various competition authorities around the world. In 2012, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (Mofcom) announced its conditional approval of the Google/Motorola merger, some of the conditions raised concerning the licensing of the Android Operating System to hardware manufacturers. In 2013, the South Korean Fair Trade Commission dropped a two-year anti-competition probe into Google’s Android smartphone operations. In 2015, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service adopted a decision finding Google “guilty of abusing its dominant position” and requesting Google to make changes in the requirements it puts on its hardware partners. This decision has been recently confirmed on appeal. In April 2016, the European Commission announced that it sent a statement of objections to Google, in which it takes the preliminary view that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, “abused its dominant position” by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. It was reported that the United States Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating into whether Google unfairly used Android’s strength in the mobile computing market to prioritize its own services over those of competitors. Google responded to these allegations by publishing a statement emphasizing its “model of open innovation”.
The objective of the discussion will not be to address the factual elements of the Android case(s), for which there is little published information, but to reflect on the possible theories that could be advanced by each of the parties and explore the various theories and approaches followed by various competition authorities around the world with regard to a similar set of facts, the link between expertise and politics that underscores the various interventions, and, finally, the broader picture of the global governance of competition law that emerges out of the multiple competition law investigations in these jurisdictions.