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Google shares concerns about India's antitrust law, claims it threatens user safety and more

Earlier this month, Google submitted a filing to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) claiming that the lawsuit against the company proves detrimental to the smartphone industry in India. Under the lawsuit, the CCI slapped Google with a fine of $161.95 million for threatening rival businesses with its obligation to smartphone makers about the pre-instalments of applications. Today, the company shared a blog post elaborating on the argument to defend its case.

Google mentioned that the CCI’s actions strike “a blow at the ecosystem-wide efforts to accelerate digital adoption” in India. It continued by adding that due to Android’s use of open-source software, manufacturers have made more affordable smartphones for users. It argues that Google’s efforts helped incentivize manufacturers as the number of smartphone users rose.

Google also highlighted that Android powers a large part of India’s Jandhan - Aadhar - Mobile trinity, helped provide electronic devices in times of COVID, and helped generate employment in the economy. Thus, arguing that the CCI puts all of these at risk.

It debated that various versions of Android would prevent the existence of a “consistent and predictable ecosystem” and added that devices incompatible with these versions would restrict Google from providing its users with security features. This would make them vulnerable to cybercrime, malware, and bugs. Additionally, the country would see an increase in the prices of smartphones as OEMs would have to finance consistent security updates on users’ devices since Google’s safety features would not be available. Furthermore, Google argued that app developers would experience higher costs leading to more user exclusion. It mentioned:

“In a forked Android environment, small developers will be forced to prioritize which of the various incompatible Android ‘forks’ they write and maintain apps for, as their costs will increase with each additional version they support.”

The company concluded by saying there is a need to come together to provide secure and safe smartphones to users in India. It said “Foundational disruptions” could negatively affect efforts made by OEMs, developers, as well as the industry.

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