Google is well aware of the advantages it has over the global smartphone industry due to the dominant position of Android OS worldwide. The ongoing trade war that led to Google revoking the Android OS license of Huawei is a classic of example how fragile the ground could be for any smartphone player. Something similar is highlighted by the CCI report that has accused Google of abusing the dominant position of Android in India.
The 14-page report by Competition Commission of India (CCI) is based on the probe launched against Google in April this year. The CCI has accused Google of imposing unfair conditions for manufacturers under India’s competition law. The report states that Google is employing unfair business strategies to restrict manufacturers from using other versions of the Android operating system.
It’s important to understand that Android is an open-source platform that could be used by any device manufacturer. Google, however, has allegedly made its proprietary apps conditional which, in turn, decimates the ability of other manufacturers to develop and sell devices running on the alternate versions of Android OS.
Google Maps, Gmail and many other popular apps and services come pre-installed with devices powered by Google-owned Android OS.
Google leverages the popularity and necessity of these apps to restrict device manufacturers from using any other versions of Android OS, the report explains.
In India, Google could face the action similar to the one in Europe which led to the company coughing up $5 billion in penalty.
Overall, Google Android controls 88% of the total smartphone market. In India, the penetration of Google Android is, even more, deeper as 99% of the device manufacturers sell their devices with Google-owned Android OS.
Google has defended its stand. The company has clarified that Android is an open-source platform and pre-installation obligations were limited in scope, the order from CCI states.
India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market and poses a big window of opportunity for smartphone players. With little over 37% smartphone penetration, the opportunity to grow for players is still enormous. Considering the fact that the US smartphone market is already stagnated and China is on the verge of getting saturation, India has emerged as the centre of attraction for all tech giants, including Google.
CCI has a view that Google wants to cement its dominant position in India and to do so the company is employing anti-competitive practices.
Google, on the other hand, ahs challenged the order in an Indian tribunal. The company believes that the ruling could cause irreparable damages and reputational loss.
It is not the first time when CCI has accused Google. Last year, Google faced a fine of $20 million for abusing its dominant position in Search space.