India fines Google 161 million dollars for its misuse of Android

Indian authorities fined Google for using its Android platform to dominate the market.

by Faruk Imamovic
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India fines Google 161 million dollars for its misuse of Android

Indian authorities fined Google for using its Android platform to dominate the market. India's competition regulator has accused Google of entering into "one-sided deals" with smartphone makers to ensure the dominance of Google's apps.

The tech giant was ordered to "cease and desist" from the practice, and there is still no response from Google. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has said that Google "abused" the licensing of its Android operating system in the case of a range of mobile, web search, browsing, and video hosting services.

Google allegedly entered into forced agreements with players in the space to ensure that its applications such as Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps, and others were used. The statement added that this coercion stifles competition and gives Google continued access to consumer data and lucrative advertising opportunities.

The statement reads:

"Google has perpetuated its dominant position in the online search market resulting in denial of market access for competing search apps in contravention of Section 4(2)(c) of the Act. Google has leveraged its dominant position in the app store market for Android OS to protect its position in online general search in contravention of Section 4(2)(e) of the Act.

Google has leveraged its dominant position in the app store market for Android OS to enter as well as protect its position in non-OS specific web browser market through Google Chrome App and thereby contravened the provisions of Section 4(2)(e) of the Act.

Google has leveraged its dominant position in the app store market for Android OS to enter as well as protect its position in OVHPs market through YouTube and thereby contravened provisions of Section 4(2)(e) of the Act.

Google, by making pre-installation of Google’s proprietary apps (particularly Google Play Store) conditional upon signing of AFA/ ACC for all Android devices manufactured/ distributed/ marketed by device manufacturers, has reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android i.e., Android forks and thereby limited technical or scientific development to the prejudice of the consumers, in violation of the provisions of Section 4(2)(b)(ii) of the Act." The CCI asked Google not to force device manufacturers to pre-install its apps and to allow manufacturers and users to install apps of their choice during initial device setup.

Google is facing a series of antitrust cases in India, and authorities are also investigating the company's operations in the smart TV market and its in-app payment system. An investigation related to Android was launched in 2019 after complaints from users of devices with this operating system.

The case is similar to one in Europe where regulators fined Google $5 billion for using Android to gain an unfair market advantage.

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