Google is facing a fresh antitrust case in India for allegedly abusing its Android operating system's position in the smart television market. This is the Alphabet Inc company's fourth major antitrust case in India where it is also facing backlash from homegrown startups for enforcing certain policies that are likely to hurt their growth.
The new antitrust case, as mentioned to Reuters by people in the know and two lawyers, comes amid antitrust cases in the US and a potential one in China. While Google has denied wrongdoing, China is looking into allegations of Google using its dominance in the Android mobile operating landscape to stifle competition.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been looking into allegations that Google indulges in anti-competitive practices by creating barriers for companies that want to use or develop modified versions of Android for smart televisions. The latest case states that Google's agreements with companies such as Xiaomi and TV manufacturer TCL India effectively stop them from using both the Android system and a modified version of it on different devices they make. If a company's smart TV, for instance, uses Amazon's Fire operating system, then they are restricted from offering Play Store or Google Maps on its smartphones.
The case has been filed by two antitrust lawyers, Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand. According to the report, CCI has directed Google to submit a written response to the allegations. The company has reportedly sought more time.
Data from Counterpoint Research shows 8 million smart TV sets were sold in India in 2019. Three in five smart TVs sold in India are based on Google's Android system, which also powers nearly 99 per cent of India's half a billion smartphone user base.