The Competition Commission of India (Commission) has imposed a penalty of Rs.1337.76 crore ($161.95 million) on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android Mobile device ecosystem, apart from issuing cease and desist order.

In April 2019, the regulator ordered a detailed probe in the matter following complaints by consumers of Android-based smartphones in the country. Android is an open-source, mobile operating system installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of smartphones and tablets.

As per the release, the Commission has examined various practices of Google w.r.t. licensing of this Android mobile operating system and various proprietary mobile applications of Google like Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube, etc. The demand for the same, come from three different sets of consumers…

  • Smart device OEMs who wish to install an app store to make their smart devices commercially viable and marketable
  • App developers, who want to offer their services to the end users
  • End users to wish to access app stores to access content or avail other services

They found Google to be dominant in all the above mentioned relevant markets.

Google and OEMs enter into multiple agreements to govern their rights and obligations like Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA), Anti-fragmentation Agreement (AFA), Android Compatibility Commitment Agreement (ACC), Revenue Sharing Agreement (RSA), etc.

This leaves the OEMs with no other choice but to make sure that the first entry point of search remains Google search. First choice of video remains Youtube. First choice of browser remains Chrome, etc. Even if the OEMs themselves want to, they cannot replace their own alternatives to the ones pre-installed by Google.

Based on all of the above arguments, the Commission has imposed monetary penalty as well as issued cease and desist order against Google from indulging in anti-competitive practices.

This will be a continously updated article and will post updates as we keep getting them.