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CCI finds Google in violation of antitrust regulations; orders probe in smart TV OS market

Google, however, denied any wrongdoing. It said its emerging smart TV sector in India was thriving due to the company's free licensing model, and added that Android TV competed with several well-established TV operating systems

CCI orders probe into Google CCI orders probe into Google

The Competition Commission of India on Tuesday ordered an investigation into allegations of Google's abuse of its operating system's pole position in the smart television market. In the order dated June 22, CCI said that it found Google 'prima facie' in violation of India's antitrust regulations and asked the CCI Director General to launch a probe into the matter.

The commission started looking into the matter last year after two lawyers filed a case against the US tech giant alleging that Google breached certain anti-competitive laws. The CCI said that based on the information available as well as submissions by the tech giant, it is "convinced that a case is made out for directing an investigation" by the CCI DG.

Google, however, denied any wrongdoing. It said its emerging smart TV sector in India was thriving due to the company's free licensing model, and added that Android TV competed with several well-established TV operating systems. "We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws," a company spokesperson said.

Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand, the two lawyers who filed the case, said that they welcomed the probe, alleging that Google had restricted the development of many virtual goods and services.

This antitrust investigation will be Google's third in the country where it is facing probe into is payments app and Android mobile operating system.

The CCI in June 2020 began looking into allegations that Google engages in anti-competitive practices by creating barriers for firms wanting to use or develop modified versions of Android for smart TVs, such as Amazon Fire TV's operating system.

The CCI order said Google occupied the "most significant" position in the relevant market of smart TVs and the initial probe had shown the US firm curbed the ability of device-makers to sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android.

Also read: EU launches antitrust probe against Google's conduct in digital ad tech sector