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Good week for Google with wins from BT, Europe and Snap

Googlers having fun

Google has found a surprising friend in BT for its battle to prove it doesn’t have monopoly intentions with its Android operating system.

Executives at BT, which also happens to own the UK’s largest mobile operator EE as well as wholesale business Openreach, have written to the European Commission (hereafter known as the Gaggle of Red-tapers) to show its support in Google’s on-going anti-trust battle with the bureaucrats. Google is accused of using its dominant position to suffocate competition as handset manufacturers and operators have to pre-install Google apps.

Google has been formally accused by the Gaggle of Red-tapers of locking out competitors in the mobile web browsers and search segments, an area which has clear overwhelmingly dominated since Google’s entry.

“Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives,” said Margrethe Vestager, the top Red-taper for competition, back in July. “But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate.”

BT’s intervention is believed to be a play to ensure Apple doesn’t get too much of a firm-grip on the mobile market, as it already has a mighty thump considering the premium demographics which it counts as customers. It would appear the anti-fragmentation activities of Android are a compromise which operators such as EE are willing to accept, as long as it keeps Apple in its place.

“We can confirm that our legal team has written to the European Commission regarding their investigation,” said a BT spokesperson in an email to Telecoms.com.

“We told them (the Gaggle of Red-tapers) BT is free to pre- install its own or third-party apps on devices alongside pre-loaded Google apps. We also said that, as an app provider, we value the ongoing stability and compatibility of operating systems, whether they are ‘open source’ or ‘closed source’. This is why we welcome anti-fragmentation initiatives such as Google’s.”

While the Google team may be trying the patience of the Gaggle of Red-taper in the world of mobile operating systems, it is finding some friend in the data protection office.

On the company’s blog, it has announced the Gaggle of Red-tapers data protection authorities have approved Google Cloud services’ contractual commitments comply with EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, making it simpler for customers to use G Suite and Google Cloud Platform for international data transfers. In theory, customers will now be able to rely on Google Cloud model contract clauses for the international transfer of data.

Considering how sensitive authorities and companies are in Europe on data protection and privacy issues, this is a big win for the company, especially considering the threat to privacy which is currently being faced in the US, where intelligence agencies are pushing their jurisdiction further outwards. Google is one of a few cloud providers which has been given the official thumbs up from the Gaggle of Red-tapers, which could turn out to be a useful weapon as the top four cloud providers jostle for dominance in the fast expanding world of cloud computing.

Elsewhere in the cloud business, the team has also welcomed a new customer in the form of Snap. New customers would not usually be considered big news, but the numbers involved represent a significant win for the team.

Snap has recently signed a contract with Google which commits the company to spend at least $400 million per year for cloud services, over a five-year period. Over the first four years of the contract, Snap has the option to defer up to 15% of the commitment to the following year, however the difference must be eventually paid. It is essentially $2 billion in the bank for Google, which is a nice buffer to have.

Google may be facing its fair share of legal battles, but it doesn’t seem to be having an adverse effect on the business. In fact, you could say Google is thriving.


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