CCI Penalty on Google

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty on Google for abusing its dominance in the Android mobile device ecosystem.

Key facts

  • The CCI found that Google abused its dominant positions via online search and app store to protect its apps like Chrome and YouTube in mobile web browsers and online video hosting.
  • Hence, the competition watchdog imposed a fine of Rs 1,337.76 crore on the tech giant.
  • In 2018, the European Union imposed a penalty of 4.34 billion euros (around Rs 35,541 crore) on Google for the same reason. However, it was later cut to 4.125 billion euros (approximately Rs 33,296 crore).
  • The EU had fined the tech giant a total of 8.25 billion euros (around Rs 66,600 crore) for anti-trust violations after 3 investigations that lasted for over 10 years.
  • 97 per cent of 600 million smartphones in India are powered by the android operating system. This makes the country Google’s largest market by users.
  • The CCI found that Google used its dominant position to mandate OEMs to pre-install its entire Google Mobile Suite like Search, Chrome, YouTube, Google Play store, Maps, Photos, and others on mobile phones and place them in prominent positions.
  • This mandate goes against Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Competition Act, 2002.
  • According to the Act, an enterprise abuses its dominant position in the market if it directly or indirectly imposes unfair or discriminatory conditions in the purchase or sale of goods or services.
  • Besides imposing a fine for the violation of the Act, the CCI issued cease and desist orders against Google to stop it from indulging in anti-competitive practices.
  • It stated that OEMs should not be mandated to choose Google’s proprietary applications and services to be pre-installed. It also ordered the tech giant to allow uninstalling of pre-installed apps by users.
  • Google is also prohibited from offering any monetary or other incentives to OEMs for ensuring exclusivity for its search services.

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