Led by Microsoft, a group of companies is calling on European authorities to launch an antitrust investigation against Google with regards to the search giant’s dominance in mobile Internet usage on smartphones.

Comprising of 17 companies, the group is called 'FairSearch' and also includes Nokia and Oracle. The group claims that Google is acting unfairly by giving away its Android operating system to mobile device companies on the condition that the their apps such as YouTube and Google Maps are installed and are prominently displayed right out of the box.

Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a Trojan horse to deceive partners, monopolise the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” Thomas Vinje, the group's lawyer, said.

Google Maps for Android updated

The preloading of Maps on Android phones could become problematic for Google

Android is the most prevalent smartphone operating system in the world today, followed by Apple's iOS, while Microsoft’s own Windows Phone 8 OS is struggling to catch up with the two giants. “Google's predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google's dominant mobile platform,” FairSearch said in a statement.

However, it must be noted that the European Commission does not have to take any action other than respond to FairSearch’s plaint.

Google, already under investigation in Europe in another antitrust case about its online search and advertising business, did not address FairSearch’s charges in detail. “We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission,” Google spokesperson Al Verney was quoted as saying by Associated Press.

European data privacy regulators have been up in arms about Google’s privacy policy and the way the company handles the data it collects from its users' search history and web activity for advertising purposes. Regulators have launched investigations against Google, with allegations that the company is mining data without the express consent of its users.

Fearing such a dispute, Google merged 60 separate privacy policies into one universal policy last year. The major complaint against Google in Europe is that authorities fear the global privacy policy leaves users in the dark about what information is used for advertising and what is not. European authorities have also demanded that Google reveal which of its services use the data and the duration for which it is stored in the company’s servers.

With inputs from AP

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