Google fined US$162 million by India antitrust watchdog for abuse of Android platform
- Watchdog said Google leveraged its dominant position in online searches and app store for Android, to protect position of its apps like Chrome and YouTube
- Earlier this year European regulators imposed a US$5 billion fine on the company for forcing manufacturers to pre-install its apps on Android devices
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google leveraged its dominant position in markets such as online search and app store for Android, to protect the position of its apps like Chrome and YouTube in mobile Web browsers and online video hosting.
“Google, by making pre-installation of Google’s proprietary apps [particularly Google Play Store] … for all Android devices manufactured, distributed [and] marketed by device manufacturers, has reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android,” the CCI said in a statement on Thursday.
CCI also restricted Google from certain revenue sharing agreements with smartphone makers, noting that such practices helped Google to secure exclusivity for its search services “to the total exclusion of competitors.”
Google declined to comment on the order.
“Markets should be allowed to compete on merits and the onus is on the dominant players [in the present case, Google] that its conduct does not impinge this competition on merits,” CCI said in a statement.
The US company is facing a series of antitrust cases and the tightening of existing tech-sector regulations in India. The competition watchdog is separately looking in to Google’s business conduct in the smart TV market and its in-app payments system.
Google was ordered by India on Thursday not to restrict smartphone users from uninstalling its pre-installed apps like Google Maps and Gmail.
CCI also asked Google to allow users to pick their search engine of choice for all relevant services while setting up a phone for the first time.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg