The Hindu explains: Competition Commission of India vs Google

On July 1, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered a probe into Google’s market practices — that it misused its dominant position in the market to ensure that Android phones came pre-installed with Google apps.

Here is everything you need to know about the case.

What is the case?

Last month, the CCI launched a probe into Google’s practices as regards Android phones and Google apps. The complainants in the case accused Google of engaging in anti-competitive practices. This case, which has been with the CCI since 2012, began as a case against the internet conglomerate’s “unfair” search results.

The CCI found that Google is misusing its position by search manipulation and bias, and denying access to competitive products.

The CCI is also looking into Google’s agreements with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The body is trying to find if there is any misuse of the market. OEMs have been given two weeks to respond.

Has this happened before?

This case is similar to the European Commission antitrust one which ended with a $5 billion fine on the search giant. In the European case, which concluded in 2018, the Commission was of the view that Google “preserved and strengthened its market position by implementing a strategy on mobile devices”. The company had pre-installed Google Search on Android devices, thereby making it the default search service.

Why is this wrong?

This breached the European Union’s antitrust rules. The Commission found that Google required manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Chrome browser on their devices. Google also prevented manufacturers from selling devices running on competing OS based on the Android open source code.

This Commission order was after the same body fined Google $2.7 billion in 2017 for manipulating search results to give its own products primacy.

Is this the first such case in India?

Last year, Google was slapped with a fine of ₹136 crore for the same reason as the 2017 European Commission order. Passing the order on complaints that were filed back in 2012, the regulator said the penalty is being imposed on Google for “infringing anti-trust conduct”.

The penalty amount of ₹135.86 crore translates to 5% of the company’s average total revenue generated from India operations from its different business segments for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order.

Google appealed against the order, and the NCLAT has stayed it.

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 2:28:06 PM |

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