Google's alleged Android app favoritism reportedly under investigation

Google Android

The US Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating Google in relation to the search giant using Android to favor its own apps.

Reuters is reporting that the FTC will be looking into allegations that Google has been using anti-competitive tactics, including making it a requirement that Android handset makers favor Google-made apps.

According to the report, technology companies complained to the US Department of Justice earlier this year about Google's anti-competitive behavior, with the DoJ deciding the FTC would investigate the allegations.

Complaints from the unnamed tech companies include the requirement that Google's Search, Maps and other apps be given a prominent location on Android handsets, making it "impractical for handset makers to put Google rivals on their smartphone's home screen."

Sources speaking to the publication say the probe will focus on whether Google has been dictating to Android phone-makers on where and how Google-made apps are displayed, and that the investigation is in its early stages.

Favored apps

This isn't the first time Google has been investigated for anti-competitive practices, and not for the first time in relation to Google-made apps on Android either.

Earlier this year, the European Commission also began investigating allegations of anti-competitive practices focused mainly on Android as well.

"[We] help manufacturers of Android devices compete with Apple, Microsoft and other mobile ecosystems that come preloaded with similar baseline apps," Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Engineering, Android said at the time on the Google blog.

"...remember that these distribution agreements are not exclusive, and Android manufacturers install their own apps and apps from other companies as well," he continued, before pointing a finger at Apple.

"And in comparison to Apple—the world's most profitable (mobile) phone company—there are far fewer Google apps pre-installed on Android phones than Apple apps on iOS devices."