The Competition Commission of India has found Google guilty of abusing its dominance in the Android mobile device ecosystem, and online search market. The regulator has imposed a penalty of Rs 1,377 crore on the global tech giant and also directed to cease and desist from indulging in anti-competitive behaviour.
The order is an outcome of an investigation which began in 2019. The case came to the CCI when three consumers of Android smartphones complained that Google LLC and Google India Pvt. contravened the competition law by abusing their dominant position in the mobile operating system market.
Now, the competition regulator has come to the same conclusion.
It has pointed out that Google is dominant in five markets: licensable operating system for smart mobile devices in India; app store for Android mobiles; general web search services, non-OS specific mobile web browsers; and market for online video hosting platform.
After establishing dominance, the regulator examined Google’s conduct, and found its behaviour abusive in all the markets.
It looked at the various agreements android mobile manufacturers sign with Google, such as the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement or MADA, Anti-fragmentation Agreement, Android Compatibility Commitment Agreement, Revenue Sharing Agreement, etc. Each of these agreements became the basis on which the CCI found Google guilty.
For instance, the MADA assured that the most prominent search entry points—search app, widget and chrome browser—are pre-installed on Android devices, which accorded significant competitive edge to Google’s search services over its competitors, the regulator pointed out. Similarly, the tech major secured significant competitive edge over its competitors, in relation to its another revenue-earning app, YouTube, in the Android devices.
“The competitors of these services could never avail the same level of market access which Google secured and embedded for itself through MADA,” the CCI said.