Report: India Orders Antitrust Probe of Google Blocking Rivals


Mon 13 May 2019:

Reuters reports that in yet another antitrust issue, Google is being investigated over allegations of using its Android mobile operating system market dominance to block rivals in India.

According to Reuters, India’s antitrust watchdog has begun an investigation into Google over alleged use of the company’s Android mobile operating system market dominance to block rivals from expanding within the country. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) began looking into the antitrust complaint last year; the complaint was similar in nature to one filed in Europe which resulted in a $4.34 billion fine for Google.

The order calling for a full investigation was not made public, according to sources that spoke with Reuters. “It is a strong case for the CCI, given the EU precedent,” one source said. “The CCI has (preliminarily) found Google abused its dominant position.” The source stated that the probe would likely take about one year to complete and that Google executives would likely be called to appear before the CCI in the next few months.

A Google spokesperson commented on the report stating that the Android operating system has enabled millions of Indians to connect to the internet by making cheap mobile devices more accessible; the spokesperson added that they were looking forward to working alongside the CCI “to demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”

New Delhi-based antitrust lawyer Gautam Shahi commented on reports of the investigation stating: “They [Google] can either change their conduct in India voluntarily or let CCI investigate. Voluntary change in conduct may have an impact on the quantum of penalty, if it’s imposed.” Shahi also warned that if Google is found to have abused its power, the company could face a penalty of up to 10 percent of the relevant turnover of a company in the last three financial years. This means that earnings like to Google’s web browser and search engine could be taken into account when determining the fine.

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