google: Google’s anti-competitive activities harm Indian consumers, economy: MapMyIndia CEO

Google’s anti-competitive activities are hurting Indian consumers and the economy by stifling “swadeshi” (indigenous) competitors, a top executive at homegrown navigation company MapMyIndia has said. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in October imposed a hefty penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on internet giant Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets for Android mobile devices and ordered the internet giant to stop various unfair business practices. .

Google has approached the appellate court NCLAT challenging the CCI’s order on unfair business practices in the Android mobile device ecosystem, saying the decision represents a major setback for its Indian users and businesses, who rely on Android’s security features and potentially drive up the cost of mobiles. the devices

“It’s common knowledge among industry, government, regulators, and those who have studied the issue closely that Google has made it nearly impossible to maintain its monopoly in new and newer markets. Alternative operating systems, app stores, and apps like maps proliferate among OEMs and users. “, MapMyIndia CEO and ED Rohan Verma said in a statement.

In 2020 during COVID, MapmyIndia’s app was showing people nearby contact points and testing and treatment centers, helping them stay safe, something Google Maps didn’t provide, but Google removed MapmyIndia’s app from the Play Store. , he added.

Verma said the company wrote to Google many times about removing the MapMyIndia app and later wrote about it on social media — even covered by some posts — after which Google eventually reinstated it.

“These anti-competitive activities by Google harm Indian consumers and the Indian economy as they stifle Indian swadeshi competitors like MapmyIndia,” Verma said.

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MapMyIndia started in 1995 and launched its online maps in 2004. “This week, Google moved the NCLAT to fight the CCI (order) and deployed its big guns and PR machinery to create mindless spin, trying to influence, coerce and shape the narrative in its favor to prevent the excellent initiatives of the CCI, Government of India and Parliament from going forward. ” said Verma.

MapMyIndia did not respond to a PTI query on whether the company will take legal action against Google.

When contacted, a Google spokesperson said, “We have decided to appeal CCI’s decision on Android as we believe it represents a major setback for our Indian users and businesses who rely on Android’s security features and potentially increases the cost of mobile devices. Android has greatly benefited Indian users, developers and OEMs, and fueled India’s digital transformation. We look forward to making our case and remain committed to our users and partners.”

The Treasury Standing Committee’s report ‘Anti-Competitive Practices by Big Tech Companies’ has proposed ex-ante regulation, a category of systemically important digital intermediaries and a new digital competition law to curb anti-competitive practices in digital markets.

In addition, the commission asked digital market entities to refrain from “anti-steering”, “deep discounting”, “self-preference”, “search and ranking preference” and other practices that will affect market competition.

In a significant recommendation, the panel suggested classifying the main entities that could negatively affect competitive behavior in the digital ecosystem as “Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries” (SIDIs), based on their revenue, market capitalization and number of active businesses and end users.

Apart from saying that the government should review and introduce a Digital Competition Act, to ensure a fair and transparent digital ecosystem, the panel has proposed revamping the Competition Commission of India and creating a specialized digital markets unit within the CCI.

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