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India regulator probes Google’s Android abuse allegations

India regulator probes Google’s Android abuse allegations

Mubasher: India’s watchdog is reviewing accusations that Google abuses its Android mobile operating system to block its rivals, a news report said.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has for the past six months been looking into a case similar to the one Google faced in Europe, after which antitrust regulators ruled that the US giant had to pay a EUR 4.34 billion ($5 billion) fine last year, Thomson Reuters reported, citing four sources familiar with the matter.

The European Commission, the European Union’s (EU) executive arm, concluded that the search software company misused its market dominance since 2011, with practices including forcing manufacturers to set up Google Search and its Chrome browser, with its Google Play app store on Android devices.

“It is on the lines of the EU case, but at a preliminary stage,” one of the sources, who is aware of the CCI probe, told Reuters.

“The CCI will have a tough time not initiating a formal investigation into Google given the EU case, unless they can show the problem has been addressed (by remedies),” one of the sources said.

Executives from Google have been recently meeting with antitrust officials to discuss the complaint, filed by a group of people, one source told the London-based news agency.

The CCI, whose investigations are historically known for taking years, could ask its investigations division to probe further the accusations against Google, or dismiss the complaint if it lacks merit.

The antitrust watchdog imposes a 1.36 billion rupees (INR), equalling $19 million, fine on Google for “search bias” and abusing its dominant position, and it found that the search engine company put its commercial flight search function in a prominent position on the search results page.

Google filed an appeal against the ruling, stating that the order cause it “irreparable” harm and reputational loss, according to a report by Reuters.