Google reduced ability of device manufacturers to use Android alternatives: Competition Commission of India

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on Jun 30 2019
Google reduced ability of device manufacturers to use Android alternatives: Competition Commission of India
HIGHLIGHTS

A new report has uncovered CCI’s directive detailing how Google leveraged the dominance of Android in India.

The CCI launched an antitrust probe against Google and its unfair competition practices in April.

CCI says that Google makes pre-installation of its apps conditional thereby reducing the incentive for device manufacturers to use alternate operating systems other than Android.

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Google has been accused of imposing “unfair conditions” on device manufacturers and abusing the popularity of its Android platform by the competition watchdog in India. It was earlier reported that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation into Google’s anti-competitive practices in India, but the details of that directive were not disclosed at the time.

Now, a Reuters exclusive bares those details after conducting a review of CCI’s 14-page order. The said order reveals that the CCI found Google imposing “unfair conditions” on device manufacturers. It says that by making pre-installation of Google apps conditional, the company has, “reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operated on alternate versions of Android,” thereby flouting India’s competition laws. “It amounts to prima facie leveraging of Google’s dominance,” CCI said in the order.

Last week, it was reported that CCI is scanning Google’s agreements with OEMs and the conditions which the company places in those agreements. The CCI is said to have handed letters to several OEMs asking about their relationship with Google.

The investigation unit of CCI is expected to complete the probe into Google’s activities within 150 days of the April 14 order by CCI. However, as happens in cases like these, the matter could be dragged out for longer. 

In a similar case last year, Google was fined $5 billion by the EU antitrust regulators for abusing the dominance of its Android platform.

According to Reuters, the complainants in the India case allege that Google engaged in similar anti-competitive practices in India “with the aim of cementing Google’s dominant position”.

Last year, a fine of $20 million was imposed on Google by the CCI for Search bias and abusing its dominant position. Google’s appeal against the fine is still pending.

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