The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday upheld the ₹1,337 crore fine imposed on Google by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). While holding that the CCI investigation did not violate principles of natural justice, the tribunal set aside certain directions issued by the CCI.
The court quashed the directions relating to the non-monetary directives that would have forced the tech giant to allow uninstalling of Google’s pre-installed apps on Android devices.
The Tribunal also set aside directives that would have forced the company to allow developers of app stores to distribute their app store through Google Play Store.
Additionally, the Tribunal also set aside orders directing Google to allow app developers to distribute apps through side-loading, and not deny access to its play services Application Programming Interface (APIs) to disadvantage Original Equipment Manufacturers, app developers, and its existing or potential competitors.
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The competition regulator had, on October 20, 2022, fined Google for its anti-competitive practices and abusive conduct in the Android mobile device ecosystem. The CCI while imposing a penalty of ₹1,337 crores had issued ten non-monetary directions against the tech giant.
In December, Google filed an appeal before the NCLAT, which declined to give the company an interim stay against the CCI ruling and agreed to admit the appeal on pre-deposit of 10% of the overall fine.
The tech giant then approached the Supreme Court, which also declined to interfere with the NCLAT, and directed the Appellate Tribunal to take up a final hearing on Google’s appeal.