After facing billion dollar fines in the EU for abusing its dominance to favor its own services, the internet giant has now been caught in the crosshairs of Indian antitrust watchdog.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found that Google may have mistreated its market share in Android in the country to prevent device manufacturers from opting for other versions of its mobile operating system.
According to Reuters, which reviewed a 14-page order from CCI, “Google’s restrictions on manufacturers seemed to amount to the imposition of ‘unfair conditions’ under India‘s competition law.”
Google’s Android is the most widely used operating system in India, with about 99 percent of its phones sold using the platform.
The CCI launched a full examination earlier this April to discover Google‘s alleged abuse of its dominant position in Android to block competitors. But the investigation appears to have been ordered based on its initial evaluation that the company is forcing manufacturers to pre-install its apps on Android devices.
By doing so, Google “reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operated on alternate versions of Android,” the CCI said in its directive dated on April 16. “It amounts to prima facie leveraging of Google‘s dominance,” signifying that the government agency has found sufficient corroborating evidence to support the case upon initial examination.
This is not the first time Google has courted regulatory troubles for bundling its own apps on Android.
Back in 2016, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service hit Google with a $6.8 million fine following an antitrust complaint from rival Yandex. It eventually settled the charges in 2017 and opened Android to other search engines.