Anti-trust watchdog the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into accusations that Google is abusing its Android mobile OS to block rivals, reports Reuters. The CCI’s case is similar to the one Google faced in Europe last year, which led to a mammoth $5 billion penalty by the European Commission for anti-trust violations by the tech giant.
The European Commission had found Google guilty of abusing its market dominance by bundling its apps into Android phones and forcing Google Search and Chrome on Apple devices.
- According to the Reuters report, the CCI case is similar to Google’s, but at a preliminary stage. Google executives have met CCI officials “at least once” to discuss the complaint which was filed by a group of individuals. The CCI, whose investigations have usually taken years to complete, could ask that the investigation continue further or close the case at an early stage, if it didn’t see merit in it.
- Another source told Reuters that the CCI will have a “tough time not initiating a formal investigation given the EU case,” unless it can show that the anti-trust problems have been addressed.
In the Europe case, Google had said that it would charge European phone manufacturers licensing fees for using the Google Play App Store and Google’s other apps to comply with the order. Google had also said that it would allow them to use forked versions of Android, which was earlier not allowed.
Android mobile phones capture 85% of the global market, and 98% of the Indian smartphone market, Reuters said, citing Counterpoint Research.
CCI penalty for search bias and abusing dominance; Google’s appeal
In February last year, the CCI had imposed a fine of Rs 135.86 crore (nearly $21 million) on Google for “search bias” and abusing its “dominant position” in the market in violation of India’s anti-trust laws. The allegations revolved around the design of the Google search engine result page, along with allegations that the company was leveraging its dominance in web search to strengthen its position in online syndicate search services, denying competitors access to the market.