Google is planning to take legal action against an Indian antitrust regulator’s decision to change its approach to promoting the Android operating system.
Since last week, the Alphabet unit has been fined $275 million in two Indian antitrust decisions. The first decision was for having policies of charging in-app commissions. The second one was due to the abuse of control they held on the market by being on the Android operating system.
A new decision from Europe confirms that Google’s restrictions on Android manufacturers are unlawful. The ruling will cost Google a record $4.1 billion in fines and penalties, for a total of $8.8 million. Google’s plan to appeal the ruling is set to happen soon and it faces trouble continuing its monopoly with these decisions.
Although the $162 million fine from the Competition Commission of India’s ruling on Android is not as big as the record-breaking EU antitrust decision against Google, this decision has still spooked Google since it seeks remedial measures that go well beyond a mere fine.
An antitrust filing by the CCI is raising concern about Google’s influence on regulators. If it goes ahead with its intention to implement the decision, Google could face an appeal of this decision.
Google reiterated its statement from last week that the CCI order was “a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses, opening serious security risks, which nevertheless managed to raise the cost of mobile devices for Indians.”
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a lead Google counsel in its arguments before the Competition Commission of India, tweeted on Wednesday that “inherent and patent infirmities” in the order make a challenge inevitable, and likely to succeed.
Google has faced criticism that it licenses its Android operating system to smartphone players but signs restrictive agreements. U.S.-based company Google maintains that Android has created more choices for everyone and such agreements help keep the operating system free.
An EU Commission case on Google shows that its anticompetitive practices include forcing manufacturers to pre-install their apps in order for Google Search and Chrome browser to show up.
The Indian order, one of the sources noted, is concerning as it goes further and imposes restrictions on a wider range of Google services. A number of these restrictions include “License of Play Store shall not be linked with the requirement of pre-installing” Google search services, Chrome browser, YouTube or any other application of Google.”
While the Indian government touts their strong stance in stopping Google from pre-installing Android, it may be too late. While device makers will likely comply with these restrictions, Google might be forced to think of new ways to make money such as a licensing fee for Android in India, as they had to do in Europe.
Google has resumed their Android practices, which the big G claims allow them to create a sustainable platform. Customers might not be happy about it, but now they have an option: stop using Google’s apps or stop using Google for search.
What does it mean for your business when 75% of smartphones run on Android in Europe, compared to 97% of devices in India? An infographic from Counterpoint Research offers the answer.
Google is concerned that the CCI has ordered it not to impose any restrictions on so-called “sideloading”, a practice of downloading apps without using an app store, and to allow other app stores to be available within its Play Store.
This order is expected to lift the prospects of domestic rivals such as Indus App Bazaar. It offers thousands of apps in English and local languages, which will give rise to more choices and innovation for Indian developers.