CCI They say It examined Google’s various practices regarding the licensing of its Android mobile operating system and various proprietary mobile applications of Google, such as the Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube and more. The CCI accused Google of unfair practices by giving competitive edge to its proprietary apps such as search, Chrome and YouTube that come pre-installed on Android devices. Google has yet to respond to this issue.
Google fined in India for unfair practices
During the hearing, the Competition Commission of India stated that Google had argued about restrictions on competition between the Android ecosystem and Apple’s iOS ecosystem. However, CCI identified differences between the two business models that influenced the underlying incentives of business decisions.
Apple’s business is primarily based on a vertically integrated smart device ecosystem that focuses on the sale of high-end smart devices. Google’s business was found to be driven by the intention of increasing users on its platforms so that they interact with its revenue-generating service, which directly affects the sale of online advertising services through Google’s online search.
Google operates/maintains the Android OS and licenses other proprietary applications and OEMs to use this OS and Google apps on their smart mobile devices. They enter into multiple agreements to regulate their rights and obligations. Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA), Anti-Fragmentation Agreement (AFA), Android Compatibility Commitment Agreement (ACC), Revenue Sharing Agreement (RSA) etc.
The Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) ensured that the most popular search entry points, namely the Search app, widgets and Chrome browsers, came pre-installed on Android devices, giving Google’s search services a significant competitive edge. Google has also outdone itself with its other revenue-generating app on Android devices, namely YouTube.
CCI says competition never had a chance to survive these services.
The Commission has imposed certain measures:
- OEMs are not prevented from choosing which Google proprietary applications are pre-installed and should not be forced to pre-install a bunch of applications that determine the placement of pre-installed apps on their smart devices.
- Licensing of Play Store to OEMs is not linked to the requirement to pre-install Google Search Services, Chrome Browser, YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail or any other application of Google.
- The search engine giant will not deny access to its Play Services APIs to the detriment of OEMs, app developers and its existing or potential competitors.
- Google does not provide any monetary/other incentives for any arrangement with OEMs.
- Google will not impose anti-fragmentation obligations on OEMs as is currently the case under the AFA/ACC.
- Google does not encourage or hold OEMs responsible for not selling smart devices based on Android forks.
- Google does not restrict users from uninstalling pre-installed apps.
- During initial device setup, Google allows users to select their default search engine for all search entry points.
- Google allows developers of app stores to distribute their app stores through the Play Store
- Google does not restrict app developers’ ability to distribute their apps through side-loading.
Google was given 30 days to provide the necessary financial details and supporting documents. The company is yet to release an official statement on this.