Popular internet search giant Google has, once again, reportedly encountered trouble with India’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The commission is reportedly digging into the accusation against Google for misusing its popular Android mobile operating system to block other rivals.
According to Reuters, citing four unnamed sources, the CCI has been reviewing the case for the past six months, and is in the lines of a similar case faced by Google in the past.
Google did not respond to Inc42‘s queries on the matter at the time of publication.
In 2015, Google was alleged by at least 30 Indian ecommerce companies — Flipkart, MakeMyTrip.com, JustDial, etc — for abusing its dominant position to rig search outcomes which include actual search result and sponsored links, Inc42 reported.
In what may be the latest CCI-Google face-off, Google executives have already met CCI officials to discuss the case. It is unclear if the CCI will further investigate the accusations. It may consider dropping the case if it lacks merit, Reuters reported.
“The CCI will have a tough time not initiating a formal investigation into Google given the EU case unless they can show the problem has been addressed (by remedies),” a source told Reuters.
Since 2010, Google has faced three major anti-trust cases from the EU over violations of its competition laws due to its dominant position in the market. These cases have resulted in formal charges against Google related to Google Shopping, Google AdSense, and the Android operating system. Till date, Google has been found guilty of antitrust behaviour in cases related to Google Shopping and Android and has been fined over 6 Bn Euros.
In January France’s data protection agency, the National Data Protection Commission (CNIL), on Monday announced a fine of €50 Mn ($57 Mn) on Google citing the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the first time. After studying the onboarding process for a new Android smartphone user, the CNIL said that the information provided by Google is “not clear nor comprehensive.”
According to the CNIL, Google has made it too confusing for its users to understand and manage preferences on how their personal information is used.
Timeline Of Google’s Troubles In India
In India, too, Google has faced a series of trouble over similar issues. Here’s a brief timeline —
2018: The CCI imposed a penalty of $21.13 Mn (INR 136 Cr) on Google for conducting unfair business practices in India for online search.
2016: An Indian court issued a notice to Google, its CEO and India head for listing Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the world’s top ten criminals in its image search results.
2015: Google’s ambitious Project Loon was alleged for interfering with India’s cellular system. Faces allegations of anti-competetive practices by 30 Indian ecommerce companies.
2012: The Indian tax department charged Google with $11.8 Mn (INR 76 Cr) fine for allegedly misleading tax assessments in FY 2008-09.
According to Counterpoint Research estimates, Android features on about 85% of the world’s smartphones. In India, about 98% of the smartphones sold in 2018 used the platform.