Google promises to connect with India's antitrust regime following the Android order

Google promises to connect with India's antitrust regime following the Android order

January 23, 2023: On Friday, Google said that it would cooperate with India’s competition authority following the state’s top court upheld an antitrust order forcing the U.S. business to change, which increased the markets of its popular Android platform.

In October, the Competition Commission of India ruled that Google, owned by Alphabet, used its predominant position in Android and started to remove restrictions on device makers, which include those related to the pre-installation of apps and which ensures exclusivity of its search. It also charged Google $161 million.

On Thursday, Google is losing a challenge in the Supreme Court to block the directives, gaining seven days to comply.

“We are committed to our users and partners and cooperating with the CCI on the way forward,” a Google said in a statement to Reuters, without stating the steps it could take.

“We review the details of yesterday’s decision which is limited to interim relief, and decide the merits of our appeal,” Google stated, adding that it would keep pursuing its legal challenge to the Android decision.

India’s highest court has stated a lower tribunal where Google first challenged the Android directives can continue hearing the group’s appeal and must rule by March 31.

Counterpoint Research estimates that about 97% of 600 million smartphones in India run on Android. Apple has just a 3% share.

In the hope of blocking the implementation of the CCI directives, Google is challenging the CCI order in the Supreme Court by warning that it could stall the increase of the Android ecosystem. It said it would be forced to alter arrangements with over 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers if the directives kicked in.

Google has been concerned about India’s determination as the steps are even more sweeping than those in the European Commission’s 2018 ruling. There it was fined for putting in place what the Commission called illegal restrictions on Android mobile device makers. Google is still questioning the record $4.3 billion fine in that case.

In Europe, Google made changes later, which included letting Android device users pick their default search engine and stated device makers could license the Google mobile application suite differently from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser.

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