Exclusive: Google warns Android growth in India will stall due to antitrust order

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The growth of Google’s Android ecosystem is at risk of stalling in India after an antitrust order calling on the company to change how it sells the platform, the U.S. company has said. said in a court appeal. seen by Reuters.

Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) $161 million in October for exploiting its dominant position in Android, which accounts for 97% of smartphones in India , called for changes to the restrictions imposed on smartphone manufacturers. It is related to pre-installing apps.

Google has previously said the CCI decision would force it to change its long-standing business model, but the first-ever filing with the Supreme Court of India quantifies the impact and the changes Google needs to make. are shown in detail.

Google will have to change existing agreements, introduce new licensing agreements, and change existing arrangements with more than 1,100 device makers and thousands of app developers, the company said.

“The tremendous progress in growing the ecosystem of device makers, app developers and users is on the verge of stopping for directions of improvement,” says Google’s filing, which has not been made public. .

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

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Google is concerned about India’s decision, and the remedies ordered are seen as broader than the European Commission’s landmark 2018 decision to impose illegal restrictions on Android mobile device makers. increase. Google has challenged a record $4.3 billion fine in the case.

Google licenses the Android system to smartphone makers, but critics say it imposes restrictions, such as forced pre-installation of its anti-competitive apps. The company claims such deals help keep his Android free.

In October, the CCI ordered Google not to ban Android phone users in India from uninstalling apps. Currently, it is not possible to remove apps such as Google Maps and YouTube from pre-installed Android phones.

The CCI also states that Google’s Play Store licensing “should not be associated with any pre-installation requirements” for Google Search Services, Chrome Browser, YouTube, or any other Google application.

“No other jurisdiction has sought such broad changes based on similar conduct,” Google said in a court filing.

The company asked the Supreme Court to stay the CCI-ordered remedies that began on January 19, according to a court document dated January 7. The case is likely to go to trial in the near future.

According to Reuters, Google also alleges that the CCI’s investigative arm copied parts of a 2018 European ruling.The CCI and the European Commission have not responded to those allegations.

New Delhi reporting by Aditya Kalra, Arpan Chaturvedi and Munsif Vengattil.Editing by Susan Fenton

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