The Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) investigation wing has sought details of agreements between smartphone manufacturers and Google, as it continues its probe into Google for allegedly abusing the dominance of its Android OS, according to the Economic Times. The CCI director has issued letters to Samsung, Xiaomi, Karbonn, and Lava. The letter was sent last month, and the companies were given two weeks’ time to respond. The CCI sought details on:
- License fee or royalty payments made to Google for using the Android OS and Google mobile services on a yearly basis from April 2011 to March 2019
- Whether Google has imposed any restrictions on using its mobile apps and services since April 2011
The CCI ordered the investigation in May after deciding that there was merit in the accusations of market dominance against Google. The commission had begun looking into the complaint last year, and it is similar to the one Google faced in Europe and paid a $5 billion penalty for. It remains unknown as to who filed the complained, but it involves more than one person. For context, Android features on 88% of the world’s smartphones and 99% of those sold in India. In the EU case, regulators said Google forced manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and Chrome browser as a condition for licensing the Google Play Store on Android devices, giving it an unfair advantage.
CCI’s earlier penalty on Google
Back in February, the CCI had imposed a fine of Rs.135.86 crore or nearly $21 million on Google for “search bias” and abusing its “dominant position” in the market in contravention with India’s anti-trust laws. The allegations largely revolved around the design of the Google’s search results page. It was also alleged that the company was leveraging its dominance in web search to strengthen its position in online syndicate search services, as competitors were denied access to the market.