A formal complaint was filed against Google by the Russian search engine, Yandex last week, stating that Google was using its control over Android and market power to keep a privileged position for their apps on Android homescreens and handsets. There was even a similar US argument that was made in a would-be lawsuit that was filed in May of 2014.
Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land felt that damages would be extremely difficult for plaintiffs to show in the case, and naturally, the decision to dismiss the action was made by US District Judge, Beth Labson Freeman.
The US FTC decided not to pursue any action against on the same Android “Default Search” issue after closing their antitrust case against Google.
To the plaintiff’s defense, they felt that Google’s Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) agreement with hardware makers resulted in higher prices paid by consumers for Android smartphones and tablets:
“If device manufacturers bound by Google’s distribution agreements were free to choose a default search engine other than Google, the quality of Internet search overall would improve because search engines become more effective as they process more and more search queries. With default search engine status providing access to more searches, Google’s competitors in search would become more effective as they processed more queries, and this competition would push Google to improve as well. Also, if Google’s rivals were allowed to compete for default status, they would do so in part by offering to pay device manufacturers for that status on various Android smartphones and tablets. Such payments to device manufacturers, maximized by way of competitive bidding, would lower the bottom-line cost associated with production of the covered devices, which in turn would lead to lower consumer prices for smartphones and tablets.”
The Recorder said that the judge had found the connection between the “default search” status on the Android devices and consumer harm to be too insubstantial . There’s nothing saying that a consumer can’t just switch to another search engine if they so chose.
Bhere is a copy the original plaintiff complaint: