India levies USD 162 Mn fine on Google for anti-competitive behavior

India levies USD 162 Mn fine on Google for anti-competitive behavior

Google LLC reportedly received a USD 161.9 million fine from Indias competition watchdog for engaging in anti-competitive behavior with respect to Android mobile devices in multiple markets. This is a significant setback for the search engine giant in the important foreign market where it has invested billions of dollars over the past ten years.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) started looking into Google 3.5 years ago, after receiving a complaint from two junior associates and a law school student. The Commission declared that Googles demand for the whole Google Mobile Suite to be pre-installed on devices and its requirement for those apps to be prominently displayed amounted to imposition of an unfair condition on the device manufacturers and is thus, in breach of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act.

According to sources, India is Googles most populous market in terms of users, with the Android operating system of the tech giant powering 97% of the countrys 600 million cell phones.

In 2020, Google promised to invest USD 10 billion over the upcoming years in the South Asian market. Out of which, the company has already invested up to USD 5.5 billion in Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, and Bharti Airtel Limited, two of the largest telecom companies in the country.

After a draft of the highly anticipated reports conclusions was sourced and reported by the press last year, the competition regulators handling of the report itself made headlines.

As a result, Google filed a lawsuit against the regulator in court over the reported leak and denounced the breach of confidence, which it claimed made it more difficult for it to defend itself and affects Google & its partners.

The watchdog was looking at whether Google had established a dominant position in 5 different markets: app stores, non-OS specific mobile web browsers, online video hosting services in India, licensable smartphone operating systems, and web search services. However, the regulator concluded that Google dominated each of those important markets.