India’s antitrust watchdog has ordered an investigation into allegations that Google has abused the dominant position of Android in the country’s smart TV market. The news comes hours after the European Union opened a formal antitrust investigation into allegations that Google abuses its leading role in the advertising-technology sector.
In its initial review, the Competition Commission of India, which began looking into these allegations last year, said Google had breached certain anti-competitive laws.
“Google makes AOSP available to any third parties under an open- source license, however, the AOSP license does not grant OEMs, the right to distribute Google’s proprietary apps such as Play Store, YouTube, etc. referred to as Google Applications in TADA. The AOSP license further does not grant OEMs, the right to use the Android logo and other Android related trademarks,” it said in a 24-page order.
“In order to be able to preinstall Google’s proprietary apps, device manufacturers have to commit to comply with the ACC (Android Compatibility Commitments) for all devices based on Android manufactured/distributed/sold by them; and in order to be able to preinstall any proprietary app of Google, e.g. Play Store, device manufacturers will have to preinstall the entire suite of Google apps,” the order adds.
Google has denied any wrongdoing. “We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
About 8 million smart TV sets were sold in India in 2019, over 60% of which were powered by Google’s Android operating system.
It’s a tough week for American giants in India. On Monday evening, the world’s second largest internet market proposed tough e-commerce rules that could hurt Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart.
Tuesday’s order is the third ongoing antitrust case investigation that India has opened against Google. Late last year, India’s antitrust watchdog opened an investigation into Google for allegedly abusing the dominant position of its app store to promote its payments service in the South Asian nation.
This is a developing story. More to follow…