India’s antitrust commission is usually looking into accusations that will Alphabet Inc’s unit Google abuses its well-liked Android mobile operating system to block its rivals, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has for the past six months been reviewing a case similar to one Google faced in Europe that will led to a fine of 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) by antitrust regulators last year, three of the sources said. Google has challenged that will order.
The European Commission found Google had abused its market dominance since 2011 with practices such as forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Search along with also its Chrome browser, together with its Google Play app store on Android devices.
“This kind of is usually on the lines of the EU case, nevertheless at a preliminary stage,” said one of the sources, who is usually aware of the CCI investigation.
Google declined to comment. The CCI did not respond to Reuters’ queries.
The watchdog’s enquiry into allegations against Google over its Android platform has not previously been reported.
Google executives have in recent months met Indian antitrust officials at least once to discuss the complaint, which was filed by a group of individuals, one of the sources said.
The Indian watchdog could ask its investigations unit to further investigate the accusations against Google, or throw out the complaint if This kind of lacks merit. The watchdog’s investigations have historically taken years to complete.
Android, used by device makers for free, features on about 85 percent of the globe’s smartphones. In India, about 98 percent of the smartphones sold in 2018 used the platform, Counterpoint Research estimates.
In October, Google said This kind of could charge smartphone makers a fee for using its well-liked Google Play app store along with also also allow them to use rival versions of Android to comply with the EU order.
The change, however, covered only the European Economic Area, which comprises the 28 EU countries along with also Iceland, Liechtenstein along with also Norway.
“The CCI will have a tough time not initiating a formal investigation into Google given the EU case, unless they can show the problem has been addressed (by remedies),” one of the sources said.
The Indian complaint presents the latest regulatory headache for the Mountain View, California-based company in a key growth market.
Last year, the Indian antitrust watchdog imposed a fine of 1.36 billion rupees ($19 million) on Google for “search bias” along with also abuse of its dominant position. This kind of also found Google had put its commercial flight search function in a prominent position on the search results page.
Google appealed against that will order, saying the ruling could cause This kind of “irreparable” harm along with also reputational loss, Reuters reported.