Tue, 19 Oct 2021

India says Google limits competition using Android apps

Robert Besser
21 Sep 2021, 22:16 GMT+10

NEW DELHI, India: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has declared that Google abused the dominant position of its Android operating system and used its "financial muscle" to illegally stifle competition.

In a recently released report, the Commission's investigations unit further concluded that Google reduced "the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android."

In a statement to Reuters, Google said it is keen to work with the Commission, to "demonstrate how Android has encouraged more competition and innovation, not less."

Senior Commission members will review the report and allow Google to defend itself before issuing a final order.

A Google source noted that it can appeal any order in India's courts.

During the investigation, the company argued it was not stifling competition and submitted at least 24 responses.

According to Counterpoint Research, some 98 percent of India's 520 million smartphones use the Android operating system.

Google is alleged in the report to have leveraged its dominance to prevent device makers from using alternative versions of its mobile operating system and forcing them to pre-install Google apps.

The mandatory pre-installation of apps "amounts to the imposition of unfair condition on device manufacturers," and is in violation of India's competition law, the report noted.

According to Reuters, the investigation began in 2019 after two junior Indian antitrust research associates and a law student filed a complaint.

India remains a key market for Google, which announced that it will invest $10 billion in the country over the next five to seven years.

Google was also investigated in Europe and the U.S., and was fined $180 million this week by South Korea's antitrust regulator for blocking customized versions of Android.

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