Google has appealed the CCI order on unfair business practices in the Android mobile device ecosystem to the NCLAT appellate tribunal, claiming that the decision is a major setback for its Indian users and businesses who rely on Android’s security features and could increase the price of mobile devices.
By restricting “swadeshi” (indigenous) competitors, Google’s anti-competitive practices hurt Indian customers and the economy, according to a top official of the country’s own navigation company MapMyIndia. In October, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined internet giant Google a hefty Rs 1,337.76 crore for abusing its dominant position in a number of regions in connection to Android mobile devices and ordered the company to stop engaging in numerous unfair business practices.
Google has filed a complaint with the appellate tribunal NCLAT to contest the CCI order on unfair business practices in the Android mobile device ecosystem. The company claims that the decision will have a significant negative impact on its Indian users and businesses, who rely on Android’s security features, and that it may also increase the price of mobile devices.
In a statement, MapMyIndia CEO and ED Rohan Verma said: “Google is an anti-competitive practice that Google has made it virtually impossible for alternative operating systems, apps stores, and apps like maps to proliferate among OEMs And users’’. This is common knowledge in the industry, government, regulators, and those who have studied the matter in detail.
In order to keep people safe during COVID in 2020, MapmyIndia’s app provided information about surrounding testing and treatment facilities and containment zones, something Google Maps did not, but Google later deleted MapmyIndia’s app from the Play Store, he continued.
According to Verma, the business complained to Google numerous times about the MapMyIndia app being removed, and subsequently complained on social media (which was even highlighted by some outlets), leading to Google finally restoring it.
By limiting Indian swadeshi competitors like MapmyIndia, Google’s anti-competitive practices affect Indian customers and the Indian economy, Verma claimed.
This week, Google filed a complaint with the NCLAT to challenge the CCI (order) and deployed its PR machine and heavy equipment to dishonestly create spin in an effort to sway, coerce, and shape the narrative in its favor and thwart the excellent initiatives of the CCI, Government of India, and Parliament, Verma claimed.
When asked by PTI if MapMyIndia would pursue legal action to compete with Google, the firm did not comment.
A Google representative responded to inquiries by saying, “We have decided to appeal the CCI’s ruling on Android, as we feel it constitutes a significant setback for our Indian consumers and businesses that trust Android’s security features and may increase the price of mobile devices.’’
Indian users, developers, and OEMs have benefited significantly from Android, which has also fueled India’s digital transformation. We are eager to argue our position and are still dedicated to our partners and users.
In order to prevent anti-competitive behavior in digital marketplaces, the Standing Committee on Finance’s study on “Anti-Competitive Practices by Big Tech Companies” has suggested ex-ante legislation, a class of systemically significant digital intermediaries, and a new digital competition law.
The committee has also urged participants in the digital market to stop “anti-steering,” “deep discounting,” “self-preferencing,” “search & ranking preferencing,” and other actions that could harm market competitiveness.
Significantly, the panel has recommended categorizing prominent businesses that may adversely affect the digital ecosystem’s competitive behavior as “Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries” (SIDIs) based on their revenue, market capitalization, and the number of active businesses and end-users.
The panel has proposed restructuring the Competition Commission of India and the development of a specialized digital markets unit within CCI in addition to advocating that the government examine and enact a Digital Competition Act to promote a fair and transparent digital ecosystem.