Google faces Indian competition investigation over possible Android abuse

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2019

As of February, the CCI's investigation was at a preliminary stage. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) reportedly began exploring the issue previous year before reaching a decision in April to begin a full investigation. The entire issue revolves around the Android operating system that is used in mobile phone, and according to reports, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) believes that Google is looking into a complaint that accuses the company of blocking rivals from the platform.

Following initial investigations, the Indian anti-trust watchdog decided by mid-April that there was merit to the allegations and ordered a complete probe. According to Reuters, the investigation will take about a year to conclude and could see Google executives summoned before the regulator. In the European Union case, regulators said Google forced manufacturers to pre-install Google Search app and Chrome browser, together in the Google Play Store, on Android devices, giving it an unfair advantage.

In June 2017, Google was fined €2.42 billion for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance to give illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. The CCI also discovered that Google had been giving its commercial flight search function prominent position in search results. Google's earnings linked to its web browser and search engine could be considered to assess the penalty, per Reuters. Last year, it imposed a fine of 1.36 billion rupees ($19.46 million USD) against Google for search bias. Google has since appealed that order, citing it would damage its reputation. According to a leading market research firm, a staggering 99% of the smartphones in India run on Google's Android operating system and hence, it is not in any doubt that the company does, in fact, enjoy a hugely dominant position in the market. They also emphasized that Android has made mobile devices more affordable and thus has helped millions of Indians to "connect to the Internet". Furthermore, Google will work with the CCI "to demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less".

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