Google said on Friday that the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) order to modify its conduct related to certain agreements with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) would open “serious security risks for Indians” and raise mobile device costs.
The remarks came a day after India’s antitrust body imposed a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on the technology giant for allegedly abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem and violating Section 4 of the Competition Act. The CCI also asked the firm to refrain from unfair business practices and directed it to modify its conduct within a defined timeline.
Google said it would review the decision to evaluate the next steps. “Android has created more choice for everyone, and supports thousands of successful businesses in India and around the world. The CCI’s decision is a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses, opening serious security risks for Indians who trust Android’s security features, and raising the cost of mobile devices for Indians,” a Google spokesperson said.
The allegations against Google were based on two agreements between OEMs of Android OS and Google — the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) and the Anti-Fragmentation Agreement (AFA).
The CCI said Google contravened competition law due to mandatory pre-installation of the entire Google Mobile Suite under MADA. It also noted that there was no option to uninstall the same, and their prominent placement amounts to the imposition of an unfair condition on device manufacturers.
Google Mobile Services (GMS) is a collection of Google applications and APIs that help support functionality across devices. GMS includes Google’s key offerings such as Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube, Play Store, and Google Maps.
The CCI has recommended that OEMs should not be restrained from choosing from amongst Google’s proprietary applications to be pre-installed, shouldn’t be forced to pre-install a bouquet of applications, and should be allowed to decide the placement of pre-installed apps on their smart devices.
In its 293-page order, the regulator said the penalty amount was “provisional and subject to revision on Google furnishing the requisite financial details and supporting documents as sought by the Commission vide order dated 19.09.2022”, PTI reported.
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