Google faces new antitrust case in India over abuse in smart TVs market

Google

Google is facing a new antitrust case in India where the US tech giant is alleged to have abused its Android functioning system’s position from the wise television marketplace, a supply and two lawyers involved in the situation told journalists.

The instance is Google’s fourth major antitrust challenge in India, one of its key markets where it is now facing public criticism from local start-ups for Implementing certain policies and business fees they contend hurt their expansion.

Additionally, it comes as Google faces new antitrust challenges in the US, and a possible antitrust probe in China that is set to look into how it supposedly uses its dominance of its own Android mobile operating system to stifle competition. Google has denied any wrongdoing.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has since June been looking into allegations that Google engages in anti-competitive clinics by creating challenges for firms wanting to use or create modified versions of Android for smart TVs, for example Amazon Fire TV’s operating platform, according to the source, who has direct knowledge about this case.

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The case was filed by two Indian antitrust attorneys, Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand. They both confirmed that the instance filing against Google for alleged abuse from the smart television marketplace, but declined to comment further.

The source said the CCI had led Google to publish its written answers to the allegations and that the firm has sought time.

A Google spokesman declined comment, since the case with all the antitrust body was also pending. Amazon and the CCI didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Unlike Indian court cases, filings and details of all cases reviewed by the CCI aren’t disclosed publicly.

The antitrust watchdog could dictate a wider investigation against Google in case it finds merit in the allegations, or throw away the situation completely.

Data from Counterpoint Research shows 8 million clever TV sets were sold in India at 2019. Three in five smart TVs sold in India are based on Google’s Android system, which also forces nearly 99 percent of India’s half a billion smartphone consumer base.

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The most recent case alleges that Google’s agreements with companies such as Xiaomi and TV manufacturer TCL India effectively stop them from utilizing both the Android platform along with a modified version of it on various devices they create, according to the source.

For example, if a business sells smart phones according to Google’s Android, it cannot sell smart TVs running on competing platforms like the Amazon Fire TV system, according to the case from the Mountain View, California-based business, the source said.

And in reverse, in case a company’s smart TV is using Amazon’s Fire functioning system, then that company is restricted from offering Google’s favourite Play Store or the Google maps app on its smartphones.

Xiaomi did not respond to requests for comment while TCL failed to comment.

“Search bias”

In 2018, the CCI fined Google 1.36 billion rupees (approximately $18.5 million) for “search bias,” but a firm appeal against that’s pending. The CCI last year also started probing Google for allegedly misusing its dominant position to reduce the capability of smartphone makers to opt for alternative versions of its Android system.

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Earlier this year, the CCI started reviewing a case alleging that Google abuses its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in the nation.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Aditi Shah and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi. Editing by Euan Rocha and Raju Gopalakrishnan.

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