India’shas ordered an investigation into allegations that Google has abused the dominant position of Android in the country’s smart TV market. The news comes hours after the European Union opened a formal into allegations that Google abuses its leading role in advertising technology.
In its initial review, the Competition Commission of India, which began looking into these allegations, said Google had breached specific anti-competitive laws. An investigation of this scale can take quarters, if not over a year, to resolve.
“The Commission is of the prima facie opinion that by making pre-installation of(particularly Play Store) conditional upon signing of ACC (Android Compatibility Commitments) for all Android devices manufactured/distributed/marketed by device manufacturers, Google has reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android i.e., Android forks, and thereby limited technical or scientific development relating to goods or services to the prejudice of consumers in contravention of Section 4(2)(b) of the Act,” the watchdog said in its 24-page order.
“Further, ACC prevents OEMs from manufacturing/ distributing/ selling any other device which. Therefore, given the dominance of Google in the relevant markets and pronounced network effects, by virtue of this restriction, operating system are denied market access resulting in violation of Section 4(2)(c) of the Act.”
Last year, Google, which counts India as its largest market byin the country, denied any wrongdoing. “We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
The Competition Commission of India added that it found Google requiring television manufacturers to pre-installing all its “must-have” apps and not having the ability to pick and choose from alternatives “amounts to imposition of an unfair condition on the smart TV device manufacturers and thereby in contravention of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act.”
“It also amounts to prima facie leveraging of Google’s dominance in Play Store to protect the relevant markets such as online video hosting services offered by YouTube, etc., in contravention of Section 4(2)(e) of the Act. All these aspects warrant a detailed investigation,” the competition regulator added.
About 8 million bright TV sets were sold in India in 2019, over 60% powered by Google’s Android operating system. It’s a tough week for American giants in India. On Monday evening, the world’s second-largest that could hurt Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart.
Tuesday’s order is the third ongoing antitrust case investigation that India has. Late last year, India’s antitrust watchdog opened an investigation into Google for allegedly abusing the dominant position of its to promote its payments service in the South Asian nation.