The antitrust ruling in India, according to Google, is a “huge setback” for businesses and customers
On Thursday, the Competition Commission of India penalized Google $161.9 million for engaging in anti-competitive behavior concerning Android mobile devices and imposed a variety of redressal measures that may require Google to fundamentally alter its business models. Google has been ordered to stop engaging in several unfair business practices by CCI, which has accused the internet giant of abusing its dominating position in certain regions in connection to Android mobile devices.
A fine of Rs. 1338 crore is a small percentage of the company’s prior fine payments to other countries. The government’s demands for change, though, might be disastrous for the nation’s largest search engine. Among the significant adjustments that the CCI calls for are:
- Google will not prevent customers from removing its pre-installed apps
- Users and customers can select Google as their preferred search engine for all search entry points during the initial configuration of their devices
- Users ought to be able to change the default settings of their devices with the fewest number of steps possible
- Google must permit app store creators to make their apps available through the Play Store.
Google has been subject to CCI’s regulatory scrutiny, and the organization is also looking into a few other issues involving the internet giant. The most recent decree represents a significant involvement in online markets. The agency is also considering cases involving Google’s alleged anti-competitive actions about news content, smart TV, and GPay. Google was fined Rs 136 crore by the commission in February 2018 for using unfair business tactics to dominate the Indian online search industry. For unfair business practices, the watchdog fined MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, and OYO a combined Rs 392 crore on Wednesday. For the current situation, CCI took into account five important Indian marketplaces. These include the markets for licensable mobile operating systems for smart devices, the Android app store, general web search tools, mobile web browsers that aren’t OS-specific, and online video hosting platforms (OVHP). According to CCI, requiring the whole Google Mobile Suite (GMS) to be pre-installed as part of MADA without the option to remove it and place it prominently infringes on competition law because it imposes an unfair condition on the device producers. A Google representative said in a statement to TechCrunch that the regulator’s order also increases the “cost of mobile devices for Indians” and poses “severe security risks for Indian users and customers who trust Android’s security measures.” Although Google did not specify what actions it would take, specialists in the field predict that it will almost certainly dispute the ruling. In a statement released on Thursday, the antitrust watchdog argued that device manufacturers shouldn’t be required to include Google’s suite of applications and that the search engine giant shouldn’t bar vendors from using its Play Services APIs or offering them financial or other incentives. India has the most users among all of Google’s markets. In its first official response after the CCI order, Google asserted that Android has created more choices for everyone and supports thousands of successful businesses in India and around the world. According to research firm Counterpoint, 97% of the 600 million smartphones in the country run on Google’s Android operating system. In 2020, Google promised to invest $10 billion over the next few years in the South Asian market. It has previously invested up to $5.5 billion in Jio Platforms and Airtel, two enormous local telecom companies.
The watchdog was looking at whether Google had established a dominant position in five different markets: app stores, non-OS specific mobile web browsers, online video hosting services in India, licensable smartphone operating systems, and web search services. The regulator concluded that Google dominated each of those important markets.