India probes Google's dominance in the country with anti-competitive investigation

Yolanda Curtis
May 16, 2019

Citing anonymous sources, Reuters said it had reported in February that the CCI had begun its probe previous year.

India has fined Google once before, levying a penalty of 135.86 crore rupees (about US$21.1 million) for "abusing its dominant position in online general Web search and Web search advertising services in India". The CCI past year started looking at the complaint, which is similar to one Google faced in Europe and paid a $5 billion penalty for. The Competition Commission of India is reportedly looking into where Google abused its dominant position as the provider of Android mobile operating system to block rivals.

Details on the actual investigation are slim since the CCI's order for a full investigation hasn't been made public.

Allegedly, the probe will take a year to be completed, after which Google executives would, most probably, be summoned to appear before the CCI. It remains unknown as to who filed the complained, but it involves more than one person. Google was accused of forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Chrome browser on their smartphones, giving it an unfair advantage over its competitors. Google has appealed the decision but has also agreed to allow Android users in Europe the ability to choose a different browser or search engine. Google was also hit with a $2.7 billion fine from the European Union for violating antitrust laws in 2017 by manipulating shopping search results and a $1.7 billion antitrust fine over AdSense contracts earlier this year. The CCI has powers to impose penalty of up to 10% of the relevant turnover of a company in the last three financial years. In it, the company said it's "looking forward" to working with CCI to "demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less".

99% of smartphones in India that were sold this year are actually on the Android platform, making it a force to reckon with. Once a user downloads a rival search app, Google also prompts them to change their default search engine in Chrome browser.

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