According to India’s antitrust watchdog, Google has exploited its dominant position in the Android operating system in India by using its “vast financial strength” to undermine competitors, according to a two-year investigative report seen by Reuters.
According to a June study from CCI’s Competition Commission Investigations unit, Alphabet’s Google reduced “device manufacturers’ ability and incentive to create and market smartphones operating on alternative versions of Android.”
According to a press release from Google, the company is looking forward to collaborating with CCI to “show how Android has led to greater competition and innovation, not less,” according to Reuters.
An insider with personal knowledge of the situation told Reuters that Google had not received the investigative report.
A request for comment on the findings was not returned by the CCI. According to a source familiar with the case, senior CCI members will review the report and give Google another chance to defend itself before making a final decision that could result in sanctions.
Any Indian court ruling could be challenged by Google.
The findings represent Google’s latest antitrust defeat in India, where it is facing various investigations in the smart TV and app payments industry. The company is being investigated in Europe, the United States, and other countries. South Korea’s antitrust authorities has fined Google $80 million for prohibiting modified Android versions.
‘FLAWED, BIASED, AND ARBITRARY’
According to the study, Google responded to the investigation with at least 24 comments defending itself and claiming that it was not harming competition.
Microsoft, Amazon.com, Apple, as well as smartphone makers such as Samsung and Xiaomi, were among the 62 companies who answered to CCI’s Google inquiry. According to the report.
According to Counterpoint Research, Android is the operating system that powers more than 98 percent of India’s 522 million cellphones.
Google was able to use its position to limit manufacturers’ capacity to choose between different versions of its mobile operating system and force them to install Google applications, according to the CCI, which initiated the probe in 2019.
The 750-page analysis discloses that the demand for pre-installation applications “amounts to imposition of unfair conditions on the device manufacturers,” which is illegal under Indian competition law. In order to maintain its strong position in the Play Store application store, the corporation also used its authority there.
Since 2011, Android has “enjoyed its dominant position” in operating systems that may be licenced for tablets and smartphones, and Google Play Store policy has been “one-sided, imprecise, confusing, biassed, and arbitrary.” The report claims that.
According to Reuters, the probe began in 2019 after two Indian senior antitrust scholars and one law student filed a formal complaint.
India is still a critical growth market for Google. The corporation said last year that it will invest $10 billion in the Indian market over the next five to seven years through tie-ups and stock investments, marking its largest commitment to a key growing region.