Google challenges CCI order on Android devices, says it is setback for phone users

Google has challenged a CCI order on the tech giant abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem, saying the verdict is a setback for Indian users and will make such devices more expensive in the country.

The Competition Commission had slapped a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for anti-competitive practices in relation to Android mobile devices. In the October ruling, CCI had also ordered the internet major to cease and desist from various unfair business practices.

Google has now approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) challenging the CCI’s order.

A Google spokesperson told PTI: “We have decided to appeal the CCI’s decision on Android as we believe it presents a major setback for our Indian users and businesses who trust Android’s security features, and potentially raising the cost of mobile devices.”

“We look forward to making our case in NCLAT and remain committed to users and partners,” the spokesperson added.

Android has greatly benefitted Indian users, developers, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and powered India’s digital transformation, the company said.

Google has sought a stay on the order, sources said, adding that the company believes that CCI failed to appreciate strong evidence on record from OEMs, developers, and users demonstrating that the open Android business model supports competition for the benefit of all stakeholders, including in India specifically.

The CCI decision exposes Indian users to unprecedented security risks, and will make Android devices in India more expensive, less functional and less secure than they are today, the sources claimed.

Sources aware of the company’s stance said Google believes that the ruling will harm Indian developers whose costs will increase.

Appeals against CCI orders can be filed in the appellate tribunal NCLAT.

Google was fined over Rs 2,200 crore in two CCI rulings less than a week apart in October.

In its second ruling against Google, the Competition Commission had slapped a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on the company for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies.

In November, Google said it is “pausing” enforcement of the requirement for developers to use Play’s billing system for the purchase of digital goods and services for transactions by users in India while it reviews legal options in the aftermath of the CCI ruling.

India is a significant market for global tech giants, who are drawn to its large user base, tech appetite, business potential, and enabling policies.

Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai, during his visit to India earlier this week, had said the pace of technological change in the country has been extraordinary and the company is supporting small businesses and startups, investing in cybersecurity, providing education and skills training, and applying AI (Artificial Intelligence) in sectors like agriculture and healthcare.

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