Google claims India’s antitrust authorities copied parts of the EU Android abuse order

Google has told an Indian court that the country’s antitrust investigators copied parts of a European judgment against the US company for abusing its market dominance for its Android operating system and called for the judgment to be overturned, legal documents say.

In October, the Indian Competition Commission (ICC) fined Google $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in markets such as online search and the Android app store, and ordered it to change restrictions on smartphones – were imposed on manufacturers regarding the pre-installation of applications.

Sources told Reuters in October that Google was concerned about India’s ruling because the remedies it ordered were seen as broader than the European Commission’s landmark 2018 ruling imposing illegal restrictions on Android handset makers. Google has appealed a record €4.1 billion ($4.3 billion) fine in the case.

In its filing with an Indian appeals court, Google alleges that the ICC investigative unit largely copied and pasted a European Commission decision and used evidence in Europe that was not examined in India. There are more than 50 instances of copy-paste, verbatim in some cases, and the regulator erroneously dismissed the matter, Google said in its filing, which isn’t public but has been reviewed by Reuters.

The Commission failed to conduct an impartial, balanced and legally sound investigation. Google’s practices in distributing mobile applications are pro-competitive and not unfair/proprietary. Google said in a statement that it decided to appeal the ICC decision as it believes the decision represents a major setback for our users and businesses in India. The company didn’t know how to cut and paste the allegations into its statement.

India’s Competition Commission says Google abused Android’s dominance

September 2021, an antitrust investigation in India reveals that Google has abused Android’s market dominance by using its vast financial power to unlawfully harm its competitors. According to the June report by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) investigation unit, Google has “restricted the ability and incentive for device manufacturers to develop and sell devices with alternative versions of Android”.

The American tech giant said it looks forward to working with the ICC to demonstrate how Android has driven more competition and innovation, not less. The 750-page report says that requiring apps to be pre-installed “equals an unfair condition for device makers” in violation of Indian competition law, while the company has exploited the position of its app store, Play Store, to protect its dominance.

The Play Store’s policies are “one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased and arbitrary,” while Android has “held its dominant position” in licensed operating systems for smartphones and tablets since 2011, the report said. The investigation was launched in 2019 after two young Indian antitrust scholars and a law student filed a complaint.

Google is facing the Indian antitrust authorities

In October 2022, the Indian Antitrust Authority fined Google $162 million for abusing the Android platform and ordered Google to change its approach, which it deemed anti-competitive. India has instructed Google not to prevent smartphone users from uninstalling its preinstalled apps like Google Maps and Gmail. He also urged Google to allow users to select their preferred search engine for all relevant services when setting up a phone for the first time.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has stated that Google has used its dominance in markets such as online search and the Android app store to boost the position of its apps such as Chrome and YouTube in mobile web browsers and online video protect hosting.

The ICC also banned Google from entering into certain revenue-sharing agreements with smartphone manufacturers, noting that such practices help it ensure the exclusivity of its search services and completely shut out its competitors. Markets should be allowed to compete on substance and it is up to the dominant players (in this case Google) to ensure their behavior does not affect that competition on substance,” the ICC said in a statement.

On October 25 last year, India ordered Google to allow third-party payments and fined the American giant $113 million for anti-competitive practices. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has stated that Google has used its “dominant position” to force app developers to use its in-app payment system, noting that the sale of in-app digital goods An important way for developers is to monetize their work.

The ICC ruling is the latest setback for Google in one of its priority markets, where the regulator has fined a further $162 million for anti-competitive practices related to its Android operating system and asked it to review its approach to Android change platform.

India’s antitrust authorities are said to have copied the EU’s actions against Google

The Indian International Criminal Court’s decision comes as Google faces heightened antitrust scrutiny around the world. Google licenses its Android system to smartphone makers, but critics say it imposes restrictions that are anti-competitive. The US company assumes that India’s antitrust authority has copied parts of the EU Android Abuse Regulation.

In fact, in April 2016, the European Commission opened a formal investigation into Google for its Android operating system. Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits decisions by business associations and anti-competitive agreements between businesses. Article 102 TFEU prohibits abuse of a dominant position that may affect trade and prevent or restrict competition. The Antitrust Regulation (Council Regulation 1/2003) sets out how this provision is to be applied by the Commission and national competition authorities.

In addition, after two complaints and a first own-initiative investigation, the European Commission has opened a formal investigation against Google to investigate in detail whether the company’s behavior regarding its operating system also applies to Android mobile devices, as apps and services for smartphones and tablets are against violate EU competition rules.

On April 20, 2016, the European Commission notified Google of its preliminary finding that the company had abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators, in breach of EU competition rules. The Commission claims that its investigation found that manufacturers who want to preinstall the Google Play Store, Google’s application store for Android, on their devices are forced by Google to also preinstall Google Search and mistakenly direct it to their search engine on those devices do . In addition, manufacturers who want to preinstall the Google Play Store or Google Search must also preinstall Google’s Chrome browser. In this way, Google has ensured that its search engine and browser are preinstalled on the vast majority of devices sold in the EEA.

In order to be able to exercise its right of reply, Google requested an extension of the original three-month period granted by the European Commission in order to be able to properly examine the documents in the file. At the request of the Alphabet subsidiary, this deadline was extended three times, most recently set to October 7 (2016). According to Reuters newspaper, Google has been given a fourth deadline of October 31 to defend itself against the European Commission’s allegations.

Google was fined €2.4 billion at the end of July 2017; The company disagrees with the European Commission’s decision and plans to appeal. In a post, Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, explains that the company’s role is to connect its users, regardless of size, to thousands of advertisers in a way that benefits both groups. He therefore believes that the European Commission’s decision on online shopping underestimates the value of such quick and easy connections.

Google also says it is guided by its users, not a desire to crush the competition. “While some comparison sites naturally prefer Google to make them more relevant, our data shows that people typically prefer links that take them straight to the products they want, rather than sites that require them to repeat their search,” adds Kent Walker . Through its service, Google says it still allows thousands of European retailers to compete with big companies like Amazon and eBay. Kent Walker is also quick to point out that Amazon remains the go-to place for researching products online. To back up his claim, he cites a Bloomberg article that states that over 50% of shoppers turn to Amazon first when they want to research products online.

Google has asked the court to overturn the Competition Commission of India’s order and the case will be heard on Wednesday. The American company claims that Android has increased choice for everyone and that these agreements help preserve the freedom of the operating system. According to Counterpoint Research, 75% of Europe’s 550 million smartphones run Android, compared to 97% of India’s 600 million devices.

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See also:

Sentenced to a fine of 2.4 billion euros, Google does not agree with the European Commission’s decision and intends to appeal

India tells Google to allow third-party payments and fines the US giant $113 million for anti-competitive practices

Indian Antitrust Authority fines Google $162 million for abusing Android platform and directs Google to change anti-competitive approach

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