Android phones to become expensive in India? Google refuses to pay fine over anti-competitive practices claims


Google has issued a warning about Android phones that smartphones will become more expensive in India due to the latest Competition Commission of India (CCI) ruling. That said, it could increase costs for app developers, device manufacturers, and ultimately consumers.

Google also said a new antitrust order that would change how the company markets its Android platform could not only drive up costs but also pose security threats to users. Google powers 97% of smartphones in India, so the magnitude of the cost change is more inclusive.

This comes after the CCI fined Google $161 million last October for abusing its dominant position in Android. The company was also fined for abusing its power through the Play Store.

It also called on the tech giant to change the restrictions placed on smartphone manufacturers in relation to pre-installing apps, as the technology companies license their Android systems to them.

Experts argued that Google’s imposition of restrictions was anti-competitive. For example, pre-installation of apps is mandatory. Meanwhile, the company says such deals help keep Android free.

The issue was brought to the Indian courts when Google India took it to the Supreme Court. It contested an order passed by the National Court of Appeals for the Corporation Law (NCLAT).

An undisclosed Google filing, as quoted by news agency Reuters, reads:

“Google will have to make extensive changes to the Android mobile platform that has been in place for the last 14-15 years,” the company added.

“Google refuses to pay fines”

At a court hearing on Monday (January 16), CCI attorney Mukul Rohatgi argued that Google was unwilling to pay. However, in the same case, I was paying a fine in a European court.

CCI’s lawyer said, “Their complaint that they (Google) cannot pay the fine is false, as they paid more than €4 billion in EU lawsuits in 2017. It is a third world country that they are not paying for here in India.”

The court will next hear the same issue on Wednesday.

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