Competition Commission of India says Google abused Android's dominance
According to a Competition Commission of India (CCI) report seen by Reuters, the Commission has concluded that Google flexed its "huge financial muscle," stifled competition, and prevented Android alternatives from developing in India. The report follows a 2019 probe by the Commission into whether or not Google abused its dominance in India where Android devices are prevalent. Here are more details.
Competition Commission of India began probing Google in 2019
The CCI first ordered the probe in 2019 after two junior antitrust researchers and a law student filed a complaint. It said that Google appears to have leveraged its dominance to reduce device makers' ability to choose alternate versions or forks of the Android operating system. The CCI also noted that Google unfairly forced preinstalling Google apps for access to Android.
Google responded to the CCI at least 24 times
The report added the CCI found Play Store policies to be "one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased, and arbitrary." Google responded to the regulator at least 24 times, defending itself and arguing that it wasn't hurting competition. According to Reuters' sources, Google hasn't received CCI's 750-page report yet. Once it does, it'll have another chance to defend itself before the final order that could include penalties.
Other Big Tech companies also quizzed in Google's probe
Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Xiaomi, and Samsung were among the 62 entities that responded to the CCI's questions pertaining to this probe into Google, probably because 98% of India's 520 million smartphones run on Android, as per Counterpoint Research. Speaking to Reuters, Google said it looks forward to helping the CCI understand how "Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less."
Recently, South Korea banned Google from restricting Android forks
Google best hopes that the CCI finds its answers convincing. The search giant already faces a bevy of lawsuits and inquiries in India and internationally. A few days ago, the South Korean regulators slapped Google with a $177 million fine and banned the company from requiring manufacturing partners to sign anti-fragmentation agreements (AFAs) that prohibit the creation and installation of Android forks.