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Competition Commission of India approves Google investment into Jio Platforms

The Competition Commission of India has approved Google’s ₹33,737 crore (~US$4.5 billion) investment into Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms. The commission made the announcement in a press release dated Wednesday, and said a “detailed order” elaborating on the approval would soon follow. The approval comes four months after Mukesh Ambani announced the deal at Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting in July.

The approval comes after the commission reportedly reached out to handset makers to understand how Jio’s plans to build a cheap smartphone with Google’s support would impact the market. The commission also probed data-sharing agreements that may have been struck between Jio and Google as a part of the transaction. It seems now that these concerns have mostly been allayed.

This approval took quite some time to come in compared to Facebook’s ₹43,574 crore investment, which was approved in a couple months. Google has been facing antitrust scrutiny around the world. From the US’s Department of Justice filing suit against the company to the European Commission launching an investigation into the search giant’s dominance, competition authorities all over the world have renewed their focus on the company.

On Monday, the commission ordered a probe into an anonymous complaint about Google’s dominance in Google Pay and Google Play, the Android app marketplace run by the company. The probe focuses on search manipulation favouring Google Play, the company’s alleged practice of forcing phone makers to pre-install its apps, and forcing apps to use its payment system for in-app purchases. Fifteen Indian startup founders had met with the commission’s officials in October to complain about the latter issue.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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