India orders anti-trust probe of Google for alleged Android abuse

India orders anti-trust probe of Google for alleged Android abuse”

In each case, Google had to make several concessions regarding Android. Reuters reports today that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into claims that Google is abusing this position by forcing manufacturers to pre-install certain apps on their Android phones.

About 88 per cent of smart phone makers globally use Android, which comes free while in India, about 99 per cent of the smart phones sold this year used the platform, according to Counterpoint Research estimates.

A Google spokesperson said that Android has paved the way for affordable smartphones in the country and the company is ready to "demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less".

Separately, Russian regulators investigated the same alleged Android abuse, which resulted in a different fine, albeit not comparable to the EU's. Moreover, one of Reuters' sources said the watchdog has already "preliminarily" concluded the search giant violated competition law.

The undergoing full investigation would be completed in about a year and Google executives would likely be summoned to appear before the CCI in coming months, said the report. Besides a fine, a decision against Google would nearly certainly require the search giant to change the practices deemed to be anticompetitive.

"Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google's rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites", the European Commission (EC) had said in a statement.

Following preliminary investigations, the CCI last month made a decision to have a full-scale investigation into the accusations, which it found to have some merit.

The CCI verdict in February came in response to complaints filed by and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), a consumer organisation, in 2012.

The Indian regulator has powers to impose a penalty of up to 10% of the relevant turnover of a company in the last three financial years if it is found to have abused its dominant position. It also found Google had put its commercial flight search function in a prominent position on the search results page.

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