Just how open is Android's "open" system?

The Wall Street Journal has published a new report in which it claims that there are some major “strings attached” for manufacturers when it comes to using Android. According to documents obtained by the publication, Google has imposed strict regulations on companies that wish to have access to YouTube or the Play Store on their devices. The documents show that in order to receive access to those services, companies are forced to feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default search engine on the device.

Google Inc. GOOG -0.29% says its Android mobile operating system is “open.” But newly discovered documents reveal the strings attached. The documents show that Google has imposed strict restrictions on device makers that want access to its search engine, YouTube or the more than one million apps in its Play Store. In return, the device makers must feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default for users, according to the agreements. European antitrust authorities are examining those conditions, among others, as they consider whether Google has abused Android’s position as the leading smartphone operating system. In Europe, companies with dominant market share are required to promote competition, said Ioannis Lianos, a professor at University College London who studies competition law.

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