Google dials NCLAT against CCI’s Android order, Rs 1,337-crore fine

Google has filed an Appeal against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) regarding unfair practice in the Android mobile device ecosystem. The anti-competitive organization, in October this year, imposed a fine of 1,337.6 million on the global technology giant for abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile ecosystem.

“We have decided to appeal the CCI’s decision on Android because we believe it represents a significant step back for our Indian users and businesses that rely on Android’s security features, and potentially increases the cost of mobile devices,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement further said, “Android has greatly benefited Indian users, developers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and has fueled India’s digital transformation. We look forward to making our case and remain committed to our users and partners.”

According to sources, Google in its appeal to the NCLAT has cited that the competition panel has ignored evidence filed by OEMs, developers and users proving that Android’s open business model supports competition to the benefit of all stakeholders, incl. India

Google has sought a stay on the CCI’s order, sources said, citing that the decision exposes Indian users to unprecedented security risks — Android devices in India would be relatively expensive, functional and less secure than they are today. It would increase the cost of Android for Indian developers and hurt OEMs doing business in India, they said.

Google is optimistic that the appeals court will consider the “irreparable harm” Android operators would suffer if the stay is not granted pending the outcome of the appeal, the sources said.

CCI fined Google twice in October. Not only because of the Android mobile ecosystem, but because Google was pulled out for abusing its dominant position regarding Google Play policy. For this, the fine imposed on Big Tech was 937 million.

However, according to those in the know, Google’s biggest concern was CCI’s position on the Android mobile ecosystem. “CCI’s order goes much further than any regulator has ever sanctioned or asked Big Tech in any other country. The order requires Google to license its proprietary APIs to forked versions of Android. This means compatibility for building apps in an ecosystem and ease will disappear,” said a source.

The CCI in its order delineated five important markets for the subject. These are the Indian smartphone licensed OS market, the Indian Android smartphone app store, the general web search services market, the non-OS specific mobile web browser market, and the online video market. hosting platform (OVHP).

The CCI, in its press release at the time of the order, said it had found that “Google was dominant in all relevant markets mentioned above”.

The anti-competition body concluded that the pre-installation of the entire Google Mobile Suite (GMS) under the mobile application and distribution agreement (without the possibility of uninstalling it) and their prominent placement lead to the imposition of an unfair condition on device manufacturers. thus, in violation of the provisions of Article 4, paragraph 2. a) i) of the Law.

Some of the measures recommended by the CCI included allowing OEMs to (a) choose between Google’s proprietary apps and not be forced to pre-install a bunch of apps, and (b) decide on the location. pre-installed apps on smart devices.

Google said in a statement at the time: “Developers in India have benefited from the technology, security, consumer protection, and unparalleled choice and flexibility offered by Android and Google Play. And while keeping costs low, our model has fueled India’s digital transformation and helped hundreds of millions has expanded access for Indians. We remain committed to our users and developers and are reviewing the decision to evaluate next steps.”

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