CCI fines Google Rs. 1,338 crore for anti-competitive practices
Google has been slapped with a Rs. 1,337.76 crore ($161.9 million) fine by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for its anti-competitive practices related to the Android ecosystem. This brings the curtain down on the competition watchdog's investigation of the tech giant that began three and a half years ago. Google has not commented on the order yet.
Why does this story matter?
- The world has been waiting to see how CCI, India's anti-competition watchdog, will deal with charges against Google.
- For a company that has been facing anti-trust and anti-competitive challenges around the globe, this order doesn't look good.
- A silver lining, if you can call it that, is that the fine is significantly lower compared to penalties imposed on Google in other jurisdictions.
Google made pre-installation of its mobile suite mandatory
The CCI has fined Google for "abusing its dominant position" in multiple categories. In its press release, the CCI said that Google making it mandatory for mobile manufacturers to pre-install its entire Google Mobile Suite (GMS) with no option to uninstall tanamount to unfair conditions on the device manufacturers. This is in contravention of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Competition Act, 2022.
Google abused its dominant position in the market
The competition watchdog said that the company abused its dominant position in the search engine market and denied access to other search engines. It also used its position in the app store market for Android to protect its position in online general search as well as to enter and protect its position in non-OS specific web browser market and online video hosting platforms.
Google shouldn't deny OEMs access to Play Service APIs: CCI
The CCI has asked Google to not deny access to Play Service plugins to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It also said that the search engine giant should not make licensing of its Play Service API conditional on pre-installing its bouquet of apps. The company will also have to allow users to choose their default search engine.
How will this order affect Google?
India is one of Google's biggest markets. The company had pledged an investment of $10 billion in the country in 2020. CCI's order may slow down the tech giant's growth. This order can also be seen as a sign of how other anti-trust charges against Google in India may take shape. Google has 30 days to submit the requisite details and documents.