After the Supreme Court rejected its plea to provide interim relief, Google on Friday said it will cooperate with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) guidelines with regard to change in its Android market business model. However, the company will continue its legal appeal in the matter.
“Android has greatly benefited Indian users, developers, and OEMs (original equipment makers) and played a key role in India’s digital transformation. We remain committed to our users and partners and will cooperate with the CCI on the way forward, in parallel with our appeal,” a Google spokesperson said.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to stay the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) related to CCI order that asked Google to pay Rs 1,338 crore penalty for abusing its dominant position with regard to Android device ecosystem.
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After hearing the plea, the Supreme Court even refused to interfere with the order by NCLAT and asked it to dispose of Google’s appeal by March 31. However, the court did give an additional week’s time to the company to pay 10% of the penalty and comply with CCI’s guidelines.
“We are reviewing the details of yesterday’s (Thursday) decision which is limited to interim relief and did not decide the merits of our appeal,” the company’s spokesperson said.
While imposing penalty on Google in October last year, the competition watchdog noted that Google abused its dominance in the licensing of operating system for smart mobile devices, app store market for Android smart mobile, general web search services, non-operating system specific mobile web browsers, and online video hosting platforms in the country.
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“The competitors of these services could never avail the same level of market access which Google secured and embedded for itself through MADA (Mobile Application Distribution Agreement) Network effects, coupled with status quo bias, create significant entry barriers for competitors of Google to enter or operate in the concerned markets,” CCI said in its order, adding that the company will have to tweak its business model and not force device markers to only pre-install Google’s proprietary applications.
It further said that the licensing of google apps including Play Store should not come with a clause of mandatorily pre-installing the apps in phones.
Among other key things, the competition watchdog said that Google shall not deny access to its play services APIs to handset makers or developers to disadvantage its existing or potential competitors, and it should not provide any monetary incentive to original equipment makers for any exclusivity of its services.
In counter, Google said the CCI’s order exposes Indian users to unprecedented security risks, apart from making Android devices in India more expensive, less functional, and less safe than they are today. In the Supreme Court, the company said, “Google is there because of excellence, not dominance”. It criticised the CCI order saying its directions are based on misapplication of a report by the parliamentary standing committee.