DIGITAL SME statement on the Google Android antitrust case: more competition means better conditions for App Developers

Today, the European DIGITAL SME Alliance commented on the Statement of Objections issued by the European Commission to Google for anticompetitive practices related to Android. Previously, the Commission had recognised DIGITAL SME as an independent intervener in the antitrust case, being a representative of small and medium-sized IT undertakings, including App Developers.

Oliver Grün, President of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance explained “We look forward to read the information provided by Google on the EU investigation. We decided to intervene in the case because we believe that only if Android is an open and competitive ecosystem, SME app developers can benefit from it in a fair way.”

According to the Commission, Google has de facto imposed its Play Store as the only plausible app store on Android devices. This gives Google a privileged position by which it may impose any conditions on those who want to sell apps on Android devices.

We are concerned that Google may decide to charge a higher share on the selling prices of apps, leaving developers with smaller margins. Similarly, access to data generated by users of developers’ apps increases Google’s data scale advantage. This may pose a barrier to independent companies that want to exploit data-driven business models, which are important for an open Digital Single Market in the EU.” Grün continued.

The European DIGITAL SME Alliance is an interested third party in the Android anti-trust case. The Alliance is, however, an independent organisation only dedicated to representing SMEs’ interests and not tied to any anti-Google commercial parties. Its intervention in the case is aimed at ensuring that SME app developers can benefit from an open and fully competitive Android ecosystem.

On the reason why the European DIGITAL SME Alliance intervened in the case, Grün explained: “We are an independent SME representative organisation. Since the Commission announced our involvement in the case, several people approached us asking for which other Tech Giant, among the Google foes, we were working. The truth is that we are not tied to any anti-Google commercial party. We just want good conditions for SMEs. Some years ago we backed the Commission on its antitrust investigation against Microsoft for tying Explorer with WindowsThis proves that we are not against one company or the other; we are just for an open market where no one gets undue advantages and everyone respects the law. Many people nowadays think that IT industry means only Facebook, Google and the likes; but Europe has thousands of successful digital SMEs and start-ups that can thrive in the market if we maintain the level playing field