Google says CCI order will ruin India’s Android ecosystem

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Image by saeedi | Bigstockphoto

Google said that the growth of its Android ecosystem will be disrupted by the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) recent order against it for exploiting its dominant position in the smartphone ecosystem.

The Indian antitrust body recently fined Alphabet-owned Google 13.38 billion Indian rupees ($161.95 million) and imposed a slew of restrictions on smartphone makers. The Android operating system has a 97% market share of smartphones in India.

Google said in in a petition before the country’s Supreme Court that due to the order, it will need to modify its existing contracts and introduce new license agreements.

It will also have to change existing arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers, while thousands of app developers will have to “make far-reaching changes to the Android mobile platform which has been in place for the last 14-15 years”, Google said in its filing.

Google claims “lasting and irreparable harm”

Google said that such changes will lead to “lasting and irreparable harm” to Google, device manufacturers, Indian consumers, app developers, and the wider Indian economy.

The company added the remedial directions issued by the CCI operate entirely on speculation and “pay no heed to the harm” it could cause to the stakeholders in the Android ecosystem.

The changing agreements to comply with the CCI’s order will also greatly impact user safety, Google said further: “If the tribunal eventually finds in Google’s favor upon hearing the full appeal, it will not be able to undo the user safety damage that would have already been caused to the ecosystem.”

As an example, Google explained, “users affected by malware or a virus will be permanently harmed. They are also unlikely to return to Google’s platform, and will switch to its competitors.”

Harsher than the EU

Google noted that the CCI’s order is far more stringent than the European Commission’s 2018 ruling on Android mobile device makers. It also alleged that the regulator’s director general (DG) had failed to conduct an impartial, balanced, and legally sound investigation. “No other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes based on similar conduct.”

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) recently denied Google an interim relief against the CCI order. The company has now sought relief from the country’s top court and urged it to put the remedial measures ordered by CCI on hold.

The case is expected to be heard in the next few days, according to a report by the Economic Times.

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