Google fined for the second time in less than a week by CCI

Google fined for the second time in less than a week by CCI

The Commission of India (CCI) fined Google Rs 936.44 crore on Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Google is charged of misusing its dominant position regarding Play Store policy and CCI has directed the tech giant to stop using unfair business practices...

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) makes sure that marketplaces in India continue to compete with one another fairly. In regards to Android mobile devices, Google has engaged in anti-competitive behavior as per the CCI. The competition watchdog fined Google for the second time in less than a week, for misusing its dominant position regarding Play Store policy and has directed the tech giant to stop using unfair business practices,as per reports from ANI. Google is a very large company and there are five types of markets under it like the market for licensable OS for smart mobile devices, App Store for android smart mobile OS, market for general web search services, market for non-OS specific mobile web browsers, and the one for online video hosting platform.

Google at its end has commented that the fine was a "major setback for Indian consumers and businesses" and that it would review the decision before evaluating its next steps. A Google spokesperson, as per reports, also said that the decision will open up serious business risks for Indian consumers who trust Android's security features and will raise the cost of mobiles for Indians.

CCI has been doing this exercise since 2019 and the second penalty follows CCI's October 20 imposition of a fine of Rs. 1,337.76 crore on Google for abusing its dominant position in a number of areas within the Android mobile ecosystem.  A two-year investigation commissioned by the CCI concluded that Google India had stifled market competition and innovation to continue to dominate in key services like search, music browser, app library, and others, according to reports. Google was fined Rs. 136 crore by CCI in 2018 for engaging in unfair business practices in the Indian internet search sector. The European Commission fined Google 2.42 billion euros in 2017 for violating the antitrust laws of the European Union after discovering that the company had unfairly benefited its comparison shopping business by exploiting its market dominance as a search engine.

The investigation also revealed that the tech giant was not using its billing system for its own applications, such as YouTube, which amounted to "imposing of discriminatory conditions as well as pricing" because its own applications are not paying the app commission that is imposed on other applications. CCI has instructed Google not to impose any limitations on app developers use of any third-party billing or payment processing services for in-app charging or app purchases.

Understanding the dominant position of Google:  

Android is an open- source, mobile operating system installed by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of smartphones and tablets. Android mobiles have Android apps in it and CCI termed google as dominant player and has no competition in the market. They have benefited their own companies. Google has been given 30 days to provide the requisite financial details and supporting documents to CCI for its unfair trading practices or else CCI will increase the penalty charges.  According to the regulator, pre-installation of the whole Google Mobile Suite (GMs) is required under the Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA). Without the ability to uninstall them, along with their prominent placement, contributes to the imposition of unfair conditions on the device producers and therefore halts competition law. Its own applications and services continued to be the most popular with consumers, and they are available both pre-installed and as default choices for the majority of users. 

The Google Play Store and the Apple App Store are not comparable, according to CCI, and the two businesses had separate business strategies, contrary to another argument that Google is asserting that they are not the market's dominating player since they compete with Apple.

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