Google stifled competition and prevented the development of Android rivals in India, the country’s antitrust regulator has decided in a report seen by Reuters. In 2019, Competition Commission of India opened a probe into whether Google abused Android’s dominance in the market where devices powered by the OS are prevalent. In its report on the probe’s findings, the regulator wrote that Google flexed its “huge financial muscle” to reduce manufacturers’ ability to develop and sell devices running Android forks.
In addition, the commission said that Google requiring manufacturers to pre-install Android apps is an unfair condition to make in exchange for access to its mobile OS. It violates India’s competition laws, the report reads. The regulator also found Play Store policies to be “one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased and arbitrary.” In a statement sent to Reuters, Google said it’s looking forward to working with the CCI to “demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”
The tech giant reportedly responded to the probe 24 times to defend itself, and other tech companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi also responded to questions from the commission. While CCI still decided that Google illegally stifled competition in the country, the company will have another chance to defend itself before the CCI issues its final decision along with penalties, if any.
Just a few days ago, South Korean regulators also came to the decision that Google used its dominant position in the market to hamper the development of Android rivals. They slapped the tech giant with a $177 million fine. They also banned the company from requiring manufacturing partners to sign anti-fragmentation agreements, which prohibit the creation and installation of alternative versions of the Android OS.