The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its Android probe to seek more evidence on Google's possible antitrust violations and its abuse on being the leading search engine channel in mobile devices where it constantly pushes its services.
The regulator is said to be in talks with companies to gather more information and is even hoping to get some evidence from the EU to come up with a definitive answer and reach a decision.
Last week, European regulators charged Google with using Android's global popularity in making advances wherein OEMs and wireless carriers are forced to favor its search engine and other services against the competition. Furthermore, the EU has questioned Google's financial incentives to its partners in Android for not allowing the competitors' software to be installed on their devices.
While it is true that the FTC is indeed gathering additional information and that the probe is on a progressing phase, it doesn't necessarily mean that the commission believes that Google is indeed abusing its authority and is using such to promote its own services.
In other words, it may or may not reach similar conclusions with the European regulators.
There are a number of reasons that could explain why it is possible for the FTC to arrive at a decision that is not aligned with the EU's.
In Europe, competition laws allow antitrust officials to have more power when taking action against dominant companies.
Android's market share in Europe is also greater than in the U.S. Currently, the OS runs in over 70 percent of the smartphones in four out of the five largest countries of the European Union. Android users in the United States currently make up 59 percent of the market.
Lastly, U.S. laws would encourage the commission to give credit to Google as long as its actions can be justified in light of its business standards, especially if they provided users with enhanced experiences in using Android as a result.
In 2013, a similar probe was also conducted by the FTC, which ended up with the commission not suing Google on charges of abusing its dominant position in the world of online search. Part of the decision to not pursue a case could have been influenced by Google's agreement to apply some minor changes to its search practices.