BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is broadening its battle with Google, alleging that the technology giant rigs the global market for mobile apps by making its Android operating system give preferential treatment to its own products.

“Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation,” EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday.

The Android operating system is designed to feature Google’s search engine, maps, Gmail, YouTube video service and other products that give the company more opportunities to sell digital ads.

Device makers don’t have to use Android as Google sets it up, but European regulators are looking into complaints that the company penalizes those that deviate from Google’s favored design.

Vestager kicked off what is likely to be a protracted legal battle with a so-called Statement of Objections accusing Google it uses its high market share to force its apps on customers. Vestager said Wednesday’s move in no way prejudges the outcome of its investigation.

Google strongly denied the charges, and its general council, Kent Walker, said the company is looking “forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate that Android is good for competition and good for consumers.”


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