According to reports, previously, Google was punished by the Indian government because of the monopoly practice of the Android operating system. And Google recently said in a document submitted to the Indian Supreme Court that the Android ecosystem is about to reach the edge of stagnation in India because the Indian government’s penalty order requires Google to change the marketing operation model of the Android operating system.
Last October, the Competition Commission of India, the Indian government’s antitrust agency, issued a $161 million (currently about Rs. 1.092 billion) fine and penalty order against Google for abusing its dominant position in the Indian market (97% of smartphone in India are powered by Android), and asked Google to revise restrictions on requiring Android smartphone manufacturers to pre-install official applications.
Following the penalty order, Google said that the Competition Commission’s decision would force the company to change its long-standing business model. But in the aforementioned filing to the Indian Supreme Court, Google for the first time quantified the subsequent impact of the adjustments the company would need to make in response to the penalty order.
Google said that under the penalty order, the company will need to revise its existing business contracts in India in the future by proposing new licensing agreements, in addition to revising its partnership agreements with more than 1,100 hardware manufacturers and thousands of third-party software developers in India.
In response. Google said in a court filing that device makers, application developers and users in India make up an Android ecosystem, but that the once-thriving ecosystem is on the verge of stagnation due to the adjustment measures that had to be made.
Google mentioned that the Android operating system has been introduced to the Indian market for 14 to 15 years, but under the penalty order, Google will need to make significant changes to Android that will have far-reaching implications.
A Google spokesperson has not yet commented.
It should be noted that in the past, the European Commission has also investigated Android OS monopolies, and in its 2018 antitrust investigation ruling, it asked Google not to impose restrictions on Android device makers (Google later filed a judicial challenge to the EU’s $4.3 billion antitrust fine). However, what worries Google this time is that the Competition Commission of India has requested a much stronger modified remedy for the same issue than the European Commission.
In general, Google licenses Android to smartphone manufacturers, but critics point out that Google adds restrictive requirements to the licensing process, such as forcing official Google software to be pre-installed on phones, and that such requirements are contrary to fair market competition. Google, for its part, counters that it relies on such pre-installation agreements to keep Android free for consumers.
Currently, once Indian cell phone manufacturers have pre-installed official software such as Google Maps and Youtube, consumers cannot uninstall them. The Competition Commission of India has asked Google not to prohibit consumers from uninstalling official applications.
The Competition Commission also gave Google an exception that the licensing model of Google Play Software Store (which is a software itself) will not be equivalent to the pre-installation of other official software, such as Google search service, Chrome browser, Youtube, etc.
In the court filing, Google said that no other country or region in the world, except India, has requested such a massive adjustment change for Android, the same product.
After the Indian Competition Commission’s penalty order was issued, Google appealed to the Indian Supreme Court to stop the enforcement of this penalty order. Court documents dated January 7 indicate that the adjustments requested by the Indian government will take effect on January 19. The appeal will therefore be heard in the Supreme Court of India in the coming days.
Earlier it was reported that following the Indian Competition Commission’s penalty order, Google alleged that a part of the text of the penalty order, copied the ruling issued by the European Commission against Google in 2018. Neither the Competition Commission of India nor the European Commission has responded to this criticism.