BRUSSELS?Alphabet Inc's Google fired off its response Thursday to a third set of formal charges issued by the European Union's antitrust regulator?this time rebutting the EU's allegations that the search giant abuses its dominance with its mobile operating service Android.

The statement follows the tech giant's response last week to allegations in two other cases related to its shopping search service and to one of its niche advertising products.

In a blog post Thursday, Google general counsel Kent Walker said "Android hasn't hurt competition" but rather has "expanded it."

The EU says Google breached EU antitrust rules by requiring smartphone makers to preload Google Search and the Google Chrome browser and set the default search service to Google Search on devices if phone makers want to include any popular Google services on their devices, such as Google Maps or the Play store for apps.

Google argues that nothing restricts phone makers or telecom companies from installing other apps on the phone as well. It also says there is evidence that many preinstalled apps don't succeed.

"No manufacturer is obliged to preload any Google apps on an Android phone," Mr. Walker said. "But we do offer manufacturers a suite of apps so that when you buy a new phone you can access a familiar set of basic services."

The EU also says Google violated the rules by offering financial incentives to manufacturers and carriers to exclusively pre-install Google Search on devices. The company argues that the policy doesn't prevent users from switching their defaults to other search engines.

Additionally, the EU accuses Google of abusing its dominance by asking any manufacturer selling official Android devices to sign an "anti-fragmentation" agreement preventing them from selling unapproved, heavily modified versions of Android.

In response, Google says the restriction helps software developers, so they don't have to make multiple versions of their apps for several versions of Android.

Write to Natalia Drozdiak at natalia.drozdiak@wsj.com, Sam Schechner at sam.schechner@wsj.com and Stu Woo at Stu.Woo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 10, 2016 09:35 ET (14:35 GMT)

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