Google challenges Android antitrust ruling in court

Google challenges Android antitrust ruling in court

Tech News

Google has filed a legal challenge in Supreme Court to block a ruling by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that will force the company to change how it markets its Android platform in India, news agency Reuters reported.

Antitrust watchdog CCI fined the Alphabet Inc unit $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in the market for Android which powers 97% of smartphones in India. Google sees the effort to challenge CCI in the Supreme Court as its last and best hope at preventing the previous order from impacting its business.

The search engine giant is worried about the Indian decision as the remedies ordered are seen as more sweeping than the European Commission’s landmark 2018 ruling for imposing unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device makers.

The challenge comes after Google suffered a setback on Wednesday when an appeals tribunal rejected its request to block the antitrust ruling.

Google argued the CCI’s investigation unit “copy-pasted extensively from a European Commission decision, deploying evidence from Europe that was not examined in India”.

“There are more than 50 instances of copypasting”, in some cases “word-for-word”, and the watchdog erroneously dismissed the issue, Google said in its filing which is not public but has been reviewed by Reuters.

“The Commission failed to conduct an impartial, balanced, and legally sound investigation … Google’s mobile app distribution practices are pro-competitive and not unfair/ exclusionary.”

Google has asked the tribunal to quash the CCI’s order, and the case is likely to be heard this week.

The CCI ruled in October that Google’s licensing of its Play Store “shall not be linked with the requirement of pre-installing” Google search services, the Chrome browser, YouTube, or any other Google applications.

In its appeal, Google alleges the CCI only found antitrust infringements related to the Google search app, Chrome browser, and YouTube, but its order “extends beyond” that.

Separately, Google has also appealed against another Indian antitrust decision where it was fined $113 million for restricting the use of third-party billing or payment processing services in India. The appeal is yet to be heard.

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