Indian anti-trust watchdog fines Google $162 million
Google has been abusing its commanding position in India's smartphone market.
An Indian anti-trust watchdog has fined Google more than $160 million after an investigation's findings revealed that Goole Inc. has been abusing its commanding position in the local smartphone market.
Google's Android mobile operating system is a dominant entity in India, running 95% of smartphones in the country, according to Counterpoint, a research agency.
However, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) noted that the tech giant integrated the platform to unlawfully crowd out rivals to its popular apps, including Youtube and Chrome.
Android has pre-installed Google apps on its phones, "which accorded significant competitive edge to Google's search services over its competitors", a statement by CCI read.
"Markets should be allowed to compete on merits and the onus is on (Google) that its conduct does not impinge this competition on merits," it added.
A fine of $162 million has been handed to Google, with the commission ordering the company not to force Android users to pre-install Google applications. The commission also told Google not to engage in any agreement with smartphone manufacturers that would encourage them to sell only Android-specific devices.
India, after China, has the second-highest number of smartphone users in the world. The country's smartphone market grew 27% in 2021 compared to the year before, according to Counterpoint. Sales in India exceeded 169 million.
Over 60% of phones purchased in India come from vanguard Chinese companies such as Xiaomi and Oppo.
In September, Europe's top court agreed with EU antitrust regulators that the company had exploited its Android mobile operating system to thwart rivals. The court, however, reduced Google's fine by 5% due to a dispute on one of the points.
Last year, Google lost its lawsuit to a 2.42 billion euro ($2.42 billion) fine, the first of three legal cases.
To maintain a fair playing field across the EU, the European Commission's competition chief has slapped heavy fines on Big Tech.
In its 2018 judgment, the Commission stated that Google utilized Android to consolidate its dominance in general internet search through payments to significant manufacturers and mobile network operators, as well as restrictions.