It seems that popular search giant Google has abused the dominance of its operating system, Android in the country of India by using its “huge financial muscle” to hurt competitors.
This information comes to us via a report by India’s antitrust authority on its two-year probe, which itself was first seen by Reuters. The June report by the CCI or Competition Commission of India’s investigations unit.
It mentions that Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google has taken steps to reduce “the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android,”
What Does the Report Mention?
In response to this, the US-based tech giant has said in a statement to Reuters that it looks forward to working with the CCI to show ” how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”
As of now, a person with knowledge in relation to this situation has informed Reuters that Google does not possess the investigation report.
The CCI did not respond to a request for comments in relation to this report. According to Reuters, the senior members of the CCI will be reviewing this report and will give the company another chance to defend its position, prior to releasing a final order which could see penalties heading towards Google.
Google can appeal this order in India’s courts. The report is one of many antitrust backlashes for Google in the country, where it is also under investigation for its payments app and smart TV markets.
So far, the company has also been subject to investigation in places such as Europe, the United States and South Korea, with the latter fining the company $180 million for blocking custom Android versions.
In addition to this, the report mentions that Google seemingly submitted around 24 responses in relation to this probe, defending and arguing its stance on the matter.
Is Google in Trouble?
A Counterpoint Research has revealed that Google’s Android powers around 98% of the smartphones found in India. In relation to this investigation, companies like Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc as well as smartphone giants such as Samsung, Xiaomi have responded to questions posed by the CCI.
Back in 2019, when the probe was ordered, CCI mentioned that Google seemed to have leveraged the dominance that it held to reduce the handset makers’ options to choose alternative versions of the mobile operating systems, forcing them to pre-install and offer devices with Google apps out of the box.
The report, which is around 750 pages long finds that the mandatory pre-installation of such apps “amounts to imposition of an unfair condition on the device manufacturers” in violation of the country’s competition law.