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Competition Commission of India slaps fine of Rs 1337.76 crore on Google for anti-competitive practices on Android phones

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has fined Google with Rs 1337.76 crore under Section 27 of the Competition Act, 2002, for taking undue advantage of its dominant position in Android Mobile device ecosystem.

A statement issued by the competition watchdog on Thursday revealed that it has issued a cease and desist order against the tech giant and directed it to comply by a slew of measures, so as to desist it from indulging in anti-competitive practices.

The tech giant had acquired Android, a mobile operating system (OS), in 2005.

A CCI statement said it had examined various practices of Google, including Google’s licensing of Android mobile operating system as well as its various proprietary mobile applications, including the Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome and YouTube.

As per the competition watchdog, it had studied the business models of both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, as well as the substitutability between Google’s Play Store for Android and Apple’s App Store for iOS and found that there was no substitutability between Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

The Commission noted that Google was dominant in all relevant markets in India under its consideration, including the market for licensable Operating System (OS) for smart mobile devices, the app store for Android smart mobile, as well as the general web search services and online video hosting platforms in India.

It said Google was operating and managing the Android OS, as well as licensing its other proprietary applications, including YouTube. The Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) entered into multiple agreements, including the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA), to use the Android OS and Google’s apps in their smart mobile devices, added the statement. 

CCI alleged that MADA assured that the search app, widget and the Chrome browser were pre-installed on Android devices, which accorded significant competitive edge to Google’s search services over its competitors. 

Reacting to the development, Google said it was a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses, and would open serious security risks for Indians, who trust Android’s security features, besides leading to increase in the cost of mobile devices for Indians.

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