CCI ORDERS DG INVESTIGATION OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN GOOGLE AND SMART

Competition commission of India, on June 22, 2021, passed an order against Google alleging that there is dominance of Google in Smart TV Operating System Market

CCI, while passing the order of probe against Google over Dominance, held that due to Google’s Market share in the smart TV OS ecosystem, which is over 65%, along with the profound network effects could lead to entry carriers for competitors. The CCI ordered a probe to the Director General, to look into the market practices of Google and also to investigate the anti-competitive agreements. No order of a probe was passed against the Xiomi and TCL.The Commission in its order stated that Alphabet Inc Google has abused its position of its Android OS, thus there is need to investigate such allegations. CCI stated that it has found a prima facie case against Google regarding the violation of the competition laws and antitrust laws while taking the dominance in the market. CCI further said that by making the pre-installation of it’s apps, like the Play store which is mandatory upon signing the Android Compatibility Commitment Agreement which all the devices having Android system devices whether manufactured or distributed by a firm.

Therefore such pre-conditions are in contravention of competition laws.In a case filed by two antitrust lawyers Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand in June last year, against Google against its dominance which is likely to violate antitrust laws in India. In October 2020, smart TV manufacturer Xiaomi India and TCL India, were also made the parties to the case. In the complaint it was alleged that Google has created bars from working with its competitors on any firm that needs to buy the licence for Android TV OS.In its order deciding whether exist prima facie case, CCI stated, “At this stage, these parameters are sufficient to indicate the extent of m,arket power enjoyed by Google and, accordingly, CCI is of the prima facie view that Google is dominant in the relevant market for licensable smart TV device OS in India”.

Therefore, the regulatory commission charged Google of entering into any kind of deals with the Android TV makers which are inclusive and restrictive in nature in pre-installation of it’s apps. Google, however, stated that any agreement signed with the smart TV manufacturers were optional, in addition it said that there has been increasing competition after Smasung, LG have proposed to launch operating systems.

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