India’s Antitrust Authority Finds Google Abused Its Market Dominance

By Bill Toulas / September 20, 2021

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has completed its probe over Google’s market practices in the country, and the final conclusion is that the American tech giant has abused its dominant position in the mobile operating systems market. The findings include purposeful anti-competition tactics, reduction of the ability and incentive of device vendors to develop their own OSes, fork Android, or even customize it- and generally forcing everyone to keep Google Services and core apps untouched. All of that comes in violation of India’s competition law, so further punitive action is expected now.

Android holds 98% of India’s smartphone market, so the above allegations obviously have massive implications for both the country and the company. The investigation into Google’s practices concerning Android’s presence in India started in 2019, involved 62 entities, and requested responses from Google 24 times. The probe was lengthy, and its findings are laid out in a 750-page report seen by Reuters.

Interestingly, Google claims they have not received the report yet, but stated that they are ready to demonstrate how Android has actually led to more competition and innovation, not the opposite. If the investigation yields negative results, they will appeal to India’s supreme courts. India remains a huge market with tremendous untouched potential for Google. This is why the tech giant regularly announces investments for research and innovation programs in its India-based hubs.

As for the findings of the CCI probe as they are presented by Reuters, the allegations made are exactly the same that their South Korean counterparts came up with only a week ago. The KFTC (South Korea’s Antitrust Agency) fined Google $177.2 million for abusing its dominant market position in the mobile market by actively blocking new OSes and Android forks and even discouraging device vendors from using custom launchers and heavy themes.

In addition to all that, the CCI reportedly also found that the Play Store policies were one-sided, purposefully vague, biased, and often arbitrary. When someone lays the ground in such a way, getting every involved party to do exactly as they are told is easy.

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