Google investigated by India antitrust authority over Android operating system

Yolanda Curtis
May 13, 2019

The competition authority of India has investigated whether Google is abusing its power with the mobile operating system Android.

Reacting to a Reuters story that the CCI has ordered a probe into Google for alleged abuse of its popular Android OS to block rivals, the company said it is ready to allay any such fears.

The anti-trust watchdog past year started looking into the complaint, which, according to reports, is similar to one Google faced in Europe that resulted in a 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine on the search platform.

CCI is digging into these charges against Google since February this year and according to a Reuters report, the commission made a decision to begin a formal investigation in April. Google also said it looked forward to working with the CCI "to demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less".

It will take nearly a year for the investigation to be completed and during the probe, Google representatives will be summoned to present their side of the story. In July 2018, the European Commission slapped a fine of 4.34 billion euros on Google for imposing illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.

In the European Union case, regulators said Google forced manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser, together with its Google Play app store, on Android devices, giving it an unfair advantage.

Google has appealed the EC order even as it said its Android device users in Europe would be able to choose rival browsers and search engines.

While India is the second largest smartphone market in the world, its position as a developing country limits sales of higher-end flagship phones. The ruling was challenged by Google. "The CCI has (preliminarily) found Google abused its dominant position." the report added. Research has shown that phone makers who wanted to use Android also had to install the Google search engine on phones.

The competition watchdog said the penalty was being imposed on Google for "infringing anti-trust conduct".

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