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Google Accuses CCI of Favoring Amazon in Android Investigation

Google Accuses CCI of Favoring Amazon in Android Investigation

Google has taken its dispute with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to the Supreme Court, seeking to overturn the CCI’s order to make 10 changes to its business model. Google claims that the CCI’s actions were biased and aimed at protecting its competitor, Amazon. The CCI had previously found Google to have abused its dominant position in the market through its Android operating system.

According to Google’s legal filing, the company disagrees with the CCI’s investigation into Android and how it was conducted. Google’s Android system powers 97% of smartphones in India, and the CCI’s order to modify its business model has led to a deepening dispute between the two entities. Google’s appeal to the Supreme Court aims to challenge the CCI’s decision and seek a resolution in its favor.

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In a previous filing in a lower tribunal, Google accused CCI officers of “copypasting” sections from a European ruling against the company into their case. The CCI denied these allegations. The October order by the CCI, which included a fine of $163 million, required Google to permit the unrestricted distribution of modified versions of its Android operating system, known as Android forks, without any licensing restrictions, including pre-installation of Google apps. Google has approached the Supreme Court to challenge this order and seek relief in the matter.

Google’s dispute with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) revolves around the CCI’s allegations that Google abused its dominant position in the Indian market through its Android operating system. The CCI’s October order, along with the imposed fine, mandated Google to make significant changes to its business model, including allowing the distribution of modified Android versions without restrictions on pre-installed Google apps. Google’s move to approach the Supreme Court reflects its determination to challenge the CCI’s findings and seek a favorable resolution in the ongoing legal battle.

In its filing with the Supreme Court, Google highlighted that during the CCI’s investigation, Amazon had claimed that Google’s restrictions posed obstacles to the development of its Android fork called Fire OS. Google argued that the CCI unfairly relied on this claim by Amazon when making its adverse decision against Google. The company emphasized this point to showcase what it considers unfair treatment and to strengthen its case for challenging the CCI’s decision through legal proceedings.

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In its 1,004-page filing reviewed by Reuters, Google stated that globally, FireOS, developed by Amazon, had not succeeded commercially due to a poor user experience. Furthermore, Google argued that in India, the Fire Phone was not even launched, indicating that Amazon had not made significant efforts to compete in the Indian market.

Google highlighted that the CCI attributed Amazon’s lack of success and its failure to create a forked version of Android to Google’s agreements. Google’s filing asserted that the CCI’s directive to modify its business model was primarily aimed at protecting Amazon, which had complained about its struggles with creating a forked Android version due to Google’s restrictions.

Google has refrained from providing a comment on the matter, citing the ongoing legal proceedings. Similarly, Amazon also declined to comment on the situation. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) did not respond to Google’s court filing, which is scheduled to be heard in the upcoming days. The case is under scrutiny, and both Google and the CCI are expected to present their arguments during the legal proceedings.

In a similar vein, Google faced repercussions in South Korea in 2021 when it was fined $159 million for impeding the development of customized versions of Android. This penalty reflected the South Korean regulator’s stance against anti-competitive practices and their determination to ensure a fair and open market for all stakeholders. These developments highlight the global scrutiny and regulatory actions that Google has encountered concerning its Android operating system.

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Google has expressed significant concern over India’s decision regarding Android, as the directives issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) were perceived to be even more wide-ranging than those imposed by the European Commission in its landmark 2018 ruling against Google for the Android market abuse. Google has contested both the South Korean and European orders, demonstrating its commitment to challenging regulatory actions against its Android operating system.

The CCI’s October ruling stated that its investigators had discovered Google’s contractual restrictions had hindered the development and sale of devices operating on Android forks by device manufacturers. The CCI argued that these restrictions hurt consumer interests. This finding formed the basis for the CCI’s decision to impose directives on Google to address the alleged abuse of its dominant position in the Indian market.

Google’s concerns over the scope and impact of the CCI’s directives highlight the significance of the case and the potential implications for its operations in India. The legal battle between Google and the CCI underscores the ongoing global scrutiny of Google’s practices surrounding its Android operating system.

During the investigation, Amazon informed Indian authorities that the development of Fire OS, as a forked version of Android, required significant resources, including thousands of employee hours, as mentioned in court documents.

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Google is currently arguing against any penalty in India’s Supreme Court and maintaining that it did not abuse its market position. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), on the other hand, is seeking Google’s compliance with all its directives, as stated in a separate filing reviewed by Reuters.

In response to the CCI’s directives, Google has implemented extensive changes to its Android business model in India. Despite a lower tribunal ruling that Google should pay the penalty and confirming the abuse of its market position in line with the CCI’s findings, the company continues to pursue its case in the Supreme Court. The legal battle is ongoing as Google seeks to challenge the penalties imposed by the CCI.

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