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By Aoife White
Nov. 10 — Google faces a fresh round of European Union questions about its Android operating system for mobile devices as regulators quizzed rivals and customers over applications for maps, e-mail and other services.
The EU wants to know whether Google Maps for phones has supplanted portable or in-car navigation devices, such as those produced by TomTom NV and the HERE unit of Nokia Oyj, according to a document sent to companies and seen by Bloomberg.
Officials are also seeking data, such as user numbers, about downloaded or pre-installed mapping apps on devices, as well as costs mapmakers face to produce a mobile-ready app.
Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., is also the target of a five-year antitrust investigation into its search services. The EU accused the tech company earlier this year of positioning and displaying its own comparison-shopping service above rivals in its general search. Separately, tiny British mapping rival Streetmap EU Ltd., is suing Google in the London courts for a loss of web traffic it said was caused by Google placing its map program over rivals in search results.
Al Verney, a Google spokesman in Brussels, declined to immediately comment. The European Commission didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU's antitrust chief, said Monday that officials are “still in the middle of things” with their Android probe and are analyzing Google's “data-intensive” response to the charges on the shopping case.
“We will have to take more data on board from Google themselves” and others, Vestager said at the European Parliament yesterday. “We need a complete picture,” she said. “This data-crunching takes time.”
With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni in Brussels.
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