India joins EU in finding Google anti-competitive: ‘competitors never stood a chance,’ finds landmark decision
The Competition Commission of India has imposed a penalty of a little under Rs. 1338 crore on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem, apart from issuing a cease-and-desist order. The Commission, which has been investigating Google’s market practices since 2019, also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline, according to a statement on the competition authority’s website. Google cannot restrict consumers from uninstalling its apps, the authority noted.
The Competition Commission of India has imposed a penalty of Rs. 1337.76 crore ($161.4 million) on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android Mobile device ecosystem, apart from issuing a cease-and-desist order.
The Commission, which has been investigating Google’s market practices since 2019, also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline, according to a statement on the competition authority’s website.
The Commission found that Google enforced multiple restrictive agreements with mobile device manufacturers that “guaranteed that distribution channels for competing search services is altogether eliminated by prohibiting OEMs from offering devices based on Android forks.”
“It ensured that OEMs are not able to develop and/ or offer devices based on forks, which are outside the control of Google.”
“With these agreements in place, the competitors never stood a chance to compete effectively with Google and ultimately
these agreements resulted in foreclosing the market for them as well as eliminating choice for users.”
The Commission noted that “Apple’s business is primarily based on a vertically integrated smart device ecosystem which focuses on sale of high-end smart devices with state-of-the-art software components. Whereas Google’s business was found to be driven by the ultimate intent of increasing users on its platforms so that they interact with its revenue earning service i.e., online search which directly affects sale of online advertising services by Google.”
The value of the fine is provisional and based on data including Google’s revenue in the Indian market, the Competition Commission said in its statement. However, the fine is a landmark decision that puts India alongside the EU in finding that Google has consistently tried and succeeded in eliminating competition using its market dominance.
Earlier this week, more than 40 European rivals to Google's shopping service urged EU antitrust regulators to use newly adopted tech rules to ensure that the internet search giant complies with a 2017 EU order to allow more competition on its search page, Reuters reported.
In India, the Competition Commission has ordered Google to comply with 10 different measures. Among them, Google must ensure that OEMs are not restricted from developing and selling their own version of Android on their devices. And Google must ensure that consumers are easily able to uninstall its pre-installed apps.
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