India's antitrust regulator Competitive Commission of India (CCI) has determined that search giant Google allegedly misused its "huge financial muscle" to force its apps to be pre-installed onto Android devices to enable access to the Google Play store.
Two antitrust research associates and a law student filed a complaint in 2019, that led to a probe by the regulator into Google's practices.
After two years, a 750-page report has determined that Google is in the wrong, reported news agency Reuters on Saturday, 18 September.
According to the report, Google made it hard for device vendors to use 'alternate versions' of Android, and used its clout to coerce them into pre-installing its apps on their devices.
This development has come days after South Korea fined Google $177 million for blocking customised versions of its Android OS, that amounted to an abuse of its market position that restricted competition in the market.
What is CCI Saying?
CCI, in a report seen by Reuters, has said that Google's actions "amounts to imposition of unfair condition the device manufacturers," violating India's competition law. Play Store policies were also "one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased, and arbitrary."
What is Google Saying?
Google said in a statement that it looks forward to working with the CCI to "demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less."
It is worthy noting that the report still has to be reviewed by senior CCI officials, a person familiar with the matter informed Reuters.
Meanwhile, Google is also set to be given the opportunity to defend itself before the final order is issued by the regulator.
Media reports suggest that financial penalties could come into play depending on the final order itself, though Google would still be able to challenge any orders via the country's courts.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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