Google claims that India’s antitrust copied parts of the EU’s Android abuse order

Google has told an Indian court that the country’s antitrust investigators copied parts of a European ruling against the US company for abusing its dominant position in the market for its Android operating system, and asked that the ruling be overturned. , according to legal documents.

In October, India’s Competition Commission (ICC) fined Google $161 million for abusing its dominant position in markets such as online search and the Android app store, and ordered it to change restrictions imposed on smartphone makers on pre-installation of applications.

Sources told Reuters in October that Google was concerned about India’s ruling because the remedies ordered were seen as broader than the European Commission’s landmark 2018 decision to impose illegal restrictions on Android mobile device makers. Google has challenged a record fine of 4.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in the case.

In its filing with an Indian appeals court, Google claims that the ICC’s investigative unit largely copied and pasted from a European Commission decision, exposing evidence in Europe that has not been examined in India. There are more than 50 instances of copy-and-paste, in some cases verbatim, and the watchdog wrongly dismissed the case, Google said in its filing, which is not public but has been reviewed by Reuters. .

The Commission failed to conduct an impartial, balanced and legally sound investigation. Google’s practice of distributing mobile applications is pro-competitive and not unfair/proprietary. Google said in a statement that it has decided to appeal the ICC decision as it believes the decision represents a major setback for our users and businesses in India. The company did not know how to cut and paste the claims in its statement.

India’s Competition Commission says Google abused Android’s dominance

September 2021 An antitrust investigation in India reveals that Google has abused Android’s dominant position by using its enormous economic power to illegally harm its competitors. Google has curtailed “the ability and incentive for device manufacturers to develop and sell devices running alternative versions of Android,” said the June report by the investigative unit of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The US tech giant said it looks forward to working with the ICC to demonstrate how Android has driven more competition and innovation, not less. The 750-page report says the mandatory pre-installation of apps “amounts to imposing an unfair condition on device manufacturers” in violation of India’s competition laws, while the company has used its app store position Play Store to protect its dominance.

The Play Store’s policies were “one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased and arbitrary,” while Android “enjoyed its dominant position” in licensed operating systems for smartphones and tablets since 2011, the report said. The investigation was triggered in 2019 after two junior Indian antitrust researchers and a law student filed a complaint.

Google faces Indian antitrust regulator

October 2022, India’s antitrust regulator fined Google $162 million for abusing the Android platform and orders it to change its approach, which is considered anti-competitive. India has ordered Google not to block smartphone users from uninstalling its pre-installed apps such as Google Maps and Gmail. He also asked Google to allow users to select their preferred search engine for all relevant services when they first set up a phone.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has said that Google has leveraged its dominant position in markets such as online search and the Android app store to protect the position of its apps such as Chrome and YouTube in mobile web browsers and online video hosting.

The ICC also banned Google from entering into certain revenue-sharing agreements with smartphone manufacturers, noting that such practices help it ensure the exclusivity of its search services to the complete exclusion of its competitors. Markets should be allowed to compete on the merits and it is up to the dominant players (in this case Google) to ensure that their conduct does not affect that competition on the merits,” the ICC said in a statement.

On October 25 last year, India ordered Google to allow third-party payments and fined the US giant $113 million for anti-competitive practices. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has said that Google has used its “dominant position” to force app developers to use its in-app payment system, noting that in-app sales of digital goods are an important way for developers to make money on. their work.

The ICC ruling is the latest setback for Google in one of its priority markets, with the watchdog fining it an additional $162 million for anti-competitive practices related to its Android operating system. , and asked him to change his approach to the Android platform.

India’s antitrust regulator reportedly copied the EU in its move against Google

The Indian ICC’s decision comes as Google faces increased antitrust scrutiny around the world. Google licenses its Android system to smartphone makers, but critics say it imposes restrictions that are anti-competitive. The American company believes that India’s antitrust body has copied parts of the EU’s Android Abuse Ordinance.

In fact, in April 2016, the European Commission launched a formal investigation procedure against Google regarding its Android operating system. Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) prohibits decisions taken by associations of undertakings and restrictive agreements between undertakings. Article 102 of the TFEU prohibits the abuse of a dominant position which may affect trade and prevent or restrict competition. The Antitrust Regulation (Council Regulation No. 1/2003) sets out how this provision is to be applied by the Commission and the national competition authorities.

Following two complaints and after conducting an initial investigation on its own initiative, the European Commission also opened a formal investigation procedure against Google to fully investigate whether the company’s behavior regarding its operating system for Android mobile devices also when apps and services for smartphones and tablets break EU competition rules.

On 20 April 2016, the European Commission informed Google of its preliminary conclusion that, in breach of EU competition rules, the company had abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. The commission maintains that its investigation showed that manufacturers who want to pre-install the Google Play Store, Google’s application store for Android, on their devices are forced by Google to also pre-install Google Search and make it their search engine by default on those devices. In addition, manufacturers who wish to pre-install the Google Play Store or Google Search must also pre-install Google’s Chrome browser. In this way, Google has ensured that its search engine and browser are pre-installed on the vast majority of devices sold in the EEA.

In order to exercise its right of reply, Google requested an extension of the initial three-month period granted by the European Commission in order to properly examine the documents in the case. At the request of subsidiary Alphabet, this deadline was extended three times, with the last deadline set for October 7 then (2016). According to the Reuters daily, Google has obtained a fourth deadline, until October 31, to present its defense against the accusations from the European Commission.

At the end of July 2017, Google was fined 2.4 billion euros; the company expresses its disagreement with the European Commission’s decision and plans to appeal. In a post, Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel at Google, explains that the company’s role is to connect its users with thousands of advertisers, regardless of their size, and in a way that is useful to both groups. He therefore believes that the EU Commission’s decision on online shopping underestimates the value of these kinds of quick and easy connections.

Google also says it is governed by its users and not by a desire to crush the competition. “While some comparison sites naturally prefer Google to feature them more, our data shows that people generally prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not sites where they have to repeat their searches,” adds Kent Walker. Through its service, Google says it still allows thousands of European merchants to compete with big companies like Amazon and eBay. Kent Walker is also quick to point out that Amazon remains the port of call for researching products online. To support his claim, he cites a Bloomberg article that says over 50% of customers turn to Amazon first when they want to research products online.

Google has asked the court to overturn the order of the Competition Commission of India and the case will be heard on Wednesday. The American company claims that Android has expanded choices for everyone and that these agreements help preserve freedom in the operating system. In Europe, 75% of the 550 million smartphones run Android, compared to 97% of the 600 million devices in India, according to Counterpoint Research.

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Also see:

Fined €2.4 billion, Google expresses its disagreement with the European Commission’s decision and plans to appeal

India orders Google to allow third-party payments, fines US giant $113 million for anti-competitive practices

India’s antitrust regulator fines Google $162 million for abusing Android platform, orders it to change anti-competitive approach

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