India’s Antitrust Body to Probe Google Over Android Abuse Allegations

Google has been beleaguered with anti-trust issues in Europe over the last few years, and it seems, they are in for trouble in India as well as the country’s antitrust body has now decided to launch a probe into the company’s abuse of Android. It has emerged that Google has been accused of abusing its mobile operating system Android by blocking out certain rivals. It seems that India’s antitrust body has found enough evidence to order a probe into the allegations, according to sources that are close to the developments.

Earlier this year, the antitrust body in Europe fined Google $5 billion for similar offenses, and that was a case that had come to its conclusion after a few years. Sources believe that the nature of complaints related to the company’s conduct in India is on similar lines. The probe is going be presided over by the Competition Commission of India, and it has emerged that the case has been reviewed by them for around six months. Regarding the broad strokes of the CCI investigation, a source stated: “It is on the lines of the EU case but at a preliminary stage.”

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in India, and according to data released by the firm Counterpoint Research, it accounted for as much as 98% of the total number of smartphones sold in the country in 2018. In such a situation, it can be hugely debilitating for Google’s rivals, if they are shut out of one of the biggest markets in the world and it seems their accusations have some merit. Otherwise, the CCI would not have opened a probe. The news of the accusations and the opening of the probe had not been in the public domain before, but it has emerged that executives from Google have in fact met investigators from the CCI. It is important to note that the CCI works at its own pace and usually, a probe of this sort might take a few years to get completed.

Following the probe conducted by the European Union, Google stated that it would charge mobile phone manufacturers a fee for the usage of the Google Play store. This move was aimed at making sure that Google did not have an unfair advantage over competitors. The move apparently kicked in in October, but it was implemented in the European Economic Area only. The operations in India are conducted using the old methods only. A source told Reuters, “The CCI will have a tough time not initiating a formal investigation into Google given the EU case unless they can show the problem has been addressed (by remedies).”

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