Google has filed an appeal in the NCLAT on the verdict given by the Competition Commission of India on the Android system. The CCI had found that the Android operating system was not competitive with other mobile operating systems. However, the NCLAT rejected that finding, arguing that the company had acted in a non-harmful manner and had also made efforts to solve the problem.
App developers must use Google Play’s Billing System exclusively
Google has challenged the verdict of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on its business practices in the Android ecosystem. The CCI had ordered Google to make changes to its policies within three months. But in the meantime, Google has issued a statement claiming it is reviewing the order.
The CCI, in its ruling, alleged that Google had used its dominant position in the Android smart mobile OS market in India to deny its rivals the opportunity to compete. It also criticized Google for the way it charged a fee to OEMs. This was in excess of the rate paid by its competitors.
Google has also been accused of requiring OEMs to pre-install its proprietary apps. These apps are tied to the Android operating system, RSAs, and MADAs. By requiring OEMs to pre-install these apps, Google denies its rivals access to the market.
In its decision, the CCI observed that Google imposed one-sided agreements that prevented OEMs from developing alternate versions of the Android operating system. This, in turn, led to a foreclosure of the market.
A CCI order ordered Google to allow third-party payment processing services to be used by app developers to process in-app payments. However, the order also stated that Google’s payment processing service fee was too high.
CCI also questioned Google’s practice of denying market access to competing UPI apps. For example, apps listed in the Google Play Store cannot offer in-app purchases via other methods. Besides, Google’s proprietary apps were tied to RSAs, which allegedly benefited Google’s advertising revenues.
Earlier, Google had delayed the implementation of its payment system requirements for Indian app creators. Google said the delay was due to a sustained pushback from developers. Now, it has filed an appeal in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
In addition to the penalty, Google has agreed to invest $10 billion in India over the next two years. Moreover, Google has given an extension to developers in India until October 31, 2022.
Although the order has been challenged, it is likely to be a useful model for antitrust agencies in the future.
Phone makers object to CCI’s proposed solutions
There’s a lot of buzz about the Canadian Competition Commission’s upcoming mega-examination of Google’s slick Android operating system. While CCI’s ruling is expected to be a slam dunk, some phone makers have a more negative take on the news. Whether that’s a good thing or not is another matter, as is the state of the nation’s high tech hardware industry. Fortunately, a handful of the country’s brightest techies have had the foresight to keep an eye on the prize in anticipation of a visit from one of the competition’s best and brightest. It’s a small world.
That’s not to mention the plethora of savvy lawyers and the like. All said and done, it should be a fun experience for the phone makers and their lawyers. The only question is, will it be one of many, or just one of many? If CCI has to go on, you can expect to see the likes of seasoned pros swarm the courtrooms. For now, a couple of the country’s finest will be scouring the streets of their respective cities for new leads. This is all in anticipation of the slew of big name phone makers who will be arriving in town soon. Of course, these are the ones who can afford to pay a hefty price for top of the line mobile devices. We hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, be prepared to be entertained.
Users exposed to unprecedented security risks
The Competition Commission of India has recently slapped a fine on Google for abusing the monopoly on the Android mobile operating system. However, the jury is still out on whether the CCI actually did its job. As a result, some are saying a stay on the blighters is in order. But the big question is, will the court decide in Google’s favor?
To answer this question, you need to consider the fact that India is Google’s second biggest market, behind only the United States. Moreover, the company has invested billions of dollars in the country over the last decade. In fact, Google has recently announced a $10 billion investment in the country over the next two years. Its latest endeavors are focused on the sexiest of mobile markets. So, it’s no surprise that the competition is stiff. Hence, the company has tapped a few of the best legal minds around to get things right.
The CCI’s fine is just the beginning. Some manufacturers in the Indian phone arena have already raised their eyebrows. And the good news is that Google is in a better position to take on the hulking task of getting the snafu out of the sandbox. Indeed, Google has a number of initiatives in the works, including a $1 billion investment in the mobile app store space. After all, they’ve got the most popular smartphone OS in the country. Plus, the tech giant is a staunch defender of the open Internet.
Google’s approach is more pragmatic than confrontational. The tech giant has promised a long list of goodies to its Indian partners, from better access to search results to higher quality local data centers. It’s no secret that Google is a big fan of the country, with a plethora of high-profile executives on its payroll. For its part, the company has been very active on the ground and has pledged to invest at least $2.5 billion in India over the next few years.
Impact on the cost of mobile devices
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has penalised Google for anti-competitive business practices in the Android ecosystem. The CCI imposed a fine of INR 2,274.2 crores on Google.
In its order, the CCI noted that the market is monopolised in favour of Google products. Google abused its dominant position to protect its online search position. It also found that the Google Play Store was used as a platform to sell applications. This created entry barriers for rivals. Similarly, CCI observed that the revenue sharing agreement provided Google with exclusivity and allowed it to continuously augment its services.
The CCI alleged that Google entered into one-sided agreements with various OEMs and ad networks, which led to denial of market access to competing apps. Google also allegedly required OEMs to pre-install its proprietary apps, which were based on the Android OS. These one-sided agreements were aimed at denying OEMs the option to develop alternate Android versions.
Among other matters, the CCI also noted that it had received information from individual consumers, which pointed to the use of algorithmic pricing and demand manipulation. Another informant alleged that drivers and cab aggregators cooperated with the algorithmic pricing and manipulated the supply.
The CCI has also cited the Google Play Store’s mandatory usage of the Google Play Billing System (GBPS) for in-app purchases. This in turn may restrict developers from developing their own in-app payment processors. There was also a question regarding the requirement of users to accept a privacy update.
Lastly, CCI ruled out the allegations that Google violated Section 4 of the Act by requiring users to download its proprietary apps from the Play Store before installing them. It noted that the Play Store has 100% market share and that no other competitor has a significant market share. Therefore, a GBPS user risked losing majority of Android users.
However, the verdict on the matter is unlikely to have an immediate impact on the android ecosystem. Moreover, the NCLAT is under pressure to resolve appeals within 180 days.
Having said that, the case is interesting. It will likely test the fluid nature of the digital payments industry. As the technology advances, it is likely that newer forms of digital payment solutions will be developed and introduced, thereby challenging existing market dynamics.