May 26, 2019

Google is under investigation for antitrust practices in India

16 May 2019, 12:16 | Casey Mitchell

India investigating Google over alleged abuse of Android dominance

Fuchsia in action

India has fined Google once before, levying a penalty of 135.86 crore rupees (about US$21.1 million) for "abusing its dominant position in online general Web search and Web search advertising services in India".

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found that Google abused the dominant position of its Android operating system (OS) in the country and has ordered a full investigation. It's possible that Google could enact similar policies in India, depending on the results of the investigation.

By mid-April, sources confirmed it was decided there was enough evidence to launch a full investigation, although this information was never made public and the CCI has not responded to requests for comments. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) reportedly began exploring the issue a year ago before reaching a decision in April to begin a full investigation.

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Allegedly, the probe will take a year to be completed, after which Google executives would, most probably, be summoned to appear before the CCI.

The EU case centered around Google requiring manufacturers that used the Android operating system to install Google Search and its Chrome browser for access to the Play Store, thereby giving Google an unfair advantage.

The CCI is quiet for the matter, while Google gave a short statement.

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They can either change their conduct in India voluntarily or let CCI investigate.

This isn't the first time Google has run afoul of the CCI. Google was also hit with a $2.7 billion fine from the European Union for violating antitrust laws in 2017 by manipulating shopping search results and a $1.7 billion antitrust fine over AdSense contracts earlier this year. Regarding the accusation of having abused its market position and abuse of power, a Google spokesperson stated that the popularity of Android has actually ensured that there is more competition in the market place as more and more developers vie to get a share of the huge Indian market. Android features on 88% of the world's smartphones and 99% o the smartphones sold in India.

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