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Google mayface antitrust investigation in India over Android smart TVs

The news comes after the European Union antitrust authorities announced a formal investigation into Google's role in the online ad market.

Story highlights
  • Google may likely face an antitrust investigation in India for allegedly abusing the dominant position of Android in India’s smart TV market.
  • The CCI also alleged that Google has made it mandatory for TV manufactures to pre-install�all its apps.
  • Google has denied any wrongdoings said that their smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws.

Google may likely face an antitrust investigation in India for allegedly abusing the dominant position of Android in India's smart TV market. The cases were filed against Google by two individuals advocates Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand which led the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to order an investigation. The CCI has ordered Director-General to submit a report within 60 days. The news comes after the European Union antitrust authorities announced a formal investigation into Google's role in the online ad market.

It has been alleged that Google has abused its dominant position in the Android TV market by entering into anti-completive agreements with the Android TV makers such as Xiaomi and TCL. Due to which, Google's competitors like Amazon have been not been able to license operating systems for TVs.

"The Commission is of the prima facie opinion that by making pre-installation of Google's proprietary apps (particularly Play Store) conditional upon signing of ACC (Android Compatibility Commitments) for all Android devices manufactured/distributed/marketed by device manufacturers, Google has reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android i.e. Android forks, and thereby limited technical or scientific development relating to goods or services to the prejudice of consumers in contravention of Section 4(2)(b) of the Act," the order accessed by TechCrunch read.

The CCI also alleged that Google has made it mandatory for TV manufactures to pre-install all its apps which leaves the OEMs with no choice to pick other apps from alternatives.

"Further, ACC prevents OEMs from manufacturing/ distributing/ selling any other device which operate on a competing forked Android operating system. Therefore, given the dominance of Google in the relevant markets and pronounced network effects, by virtue of this restriction, developers of such forked Android operating system are denied market access resulting in violation of Section 4(2)(c) of the Act," the order read.

However, Google has denied any wrongdoings said that their smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws. As per Counterpoint Research data, over 8 million smart TVs were sold in India out of which 60 perfect of them were powered by Google's Android.