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India's regulators accuse Google of abusing its Android clout to stifle the competition

Google Monopoly

Search giant Google has been making headlines for not-so-flattering reasons. In the latest round, India's anti-trust regulator has accused Google of using its Android dominance and "huge financial muscle" to hold back the rivals.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) further adds that Google reduced "the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android." It also called out Google Play Store policies as "one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased and arbitrary."

Indian authorities have compiled an elaborate 750-page report over the last two years. During the investigation, CCI questioned around 62 Google competitors and partners including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi.

Google Android

As per Statista, India has roughly over 740 million smartphones. Out of which, 98 percent of devices are based on Google's Android platform. The CCI considers Google's mandatory installation of its core apps as an unfair condition for hardware manufacturers in violation of Indian laws.

According to Reuters, the US-based company will be given a chance to defend itself before the verdict. Commenting on the development, Google has made a counterargument claiming that "Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less." It is planning to work with the CCI to put forth its side.

In India, the search giant has also been under the scanner for abusing its market position to promote its mobile payments app. Moreover, Indian regulatory authorities are investigating the charges that accused Google of using its agreement terms to block companies from using a modified version of Android on their TVs.

Google Pay logo on a white rectangle over a black background

Recently, the South Korean anti-trust regulator concluded that Google used its clout to hinder the development of Android forks. Along with a $177 million penalty, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) also blocked Google from imposing an "anti-fragmentation agreement (AFA)" on smartphone makers. However, the $177 million fine is a chump change for a company that netted over $182 billion revenue in 2020.

In the past, Google has got away with more shady things such as stealing personal data such as emails, passwords, and more via its fleet of Street View cars in multiple countries. If that wasn't bad enough, later it didn't even bother to delete the data despite promising to do so. Hence, don't be surprised if Google once again gets away with a slap of its wrist.

Source: Reuters; Image Credit: James Belkevits

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