Google Faces Another Antitrust Case In India Over Its Abuse Of Power On Smart TV Market

Aadhya Khatri - Oct 14, 2020


Google Faces Another Antitrust Case In India Over Its Abuse Of Power On Smart TV Market

Google is tangled in another antitrust case in India. The search engine giant is accused of exploiting its Android OS’s power on the smart TV market

Google is tangled in another antitrust case in India. The search engine giant is accused of exploiting its Android OS’s power on the smart TV market, according to two lawyers and a trusted source familiar with the matter.

smartTV india
The search engine giant is accused of exploiting its Android OS’s power on the smart TV market

This is by far Google’s fourth antitrust case in India, one of its major markets. Recently, the US tech giant is also under criticism over its policies enforced on local startups. 

This case in India follows a similar trouble Google faces in the US and a potential one in China, which alleged the company of taking advantage of Android to hinder competition. The search engine giant has denied all accusations.

Google antitrust cases
This case in India follows a similar trouble Google faces in the US and a potential one in China

The CCI (short for Competition Commission of India) has been looking into Google’s anti-trust since June, which accuses the company of practicing anti-competitive acts by preventing other firms from developing modified versions for the Android OS for smart televisions, according to a person with insight into this matter.

The case was filed by two antitrust lawyers, Purushottam Anand and Kshitiz Arya. Both of them confirm the existence of the case but decline to comment anything more.

The source told Reuter that the CCI had asked the search engine giant for written responses and Google said it needed more time to do so.

Cci
The source told Reuter that the CCI had asked the search engine giant for written responses

Details of cases the CCI reviews aren’t announced publicly, unlike those filed in Indian courts.

In the last few years, smart TVs have gained momentum in India and become more and more common in local households.

According to a report from Counterpoint Research, 2019 saw 8 million TVs were sold in India. Google’s Android OS is found in three in five Wi-Fi enabled TVs. The OS also powers the vast majority of India’s smartphones.

The source said Google has made agreements with TCL Indian, Xiaomi, and companies like them to prevent the use of a modified version on top of Android on devices they manufacture.

For example, if a firm has smartphones running on a modified version of Android, it can’t offer Wi-Fi enabled TVs with Amazon Fire TV and platforms like it. If a company uses Amazon Fire TV, it’s smartphones won’t get access to Google Maps and Play Store.

Amazon Fire TV
If a firm has smartphones running on a modified version of Android, it can’t offer Wi-Fi enabled TVs with Amazon Fire TV and platforms like it

Both TCL Indian and Xiaomi India are involved in this antitrust case and none of them has commented anything on the matter.

In 2018, Google faced a 1.36 billion rupee fine from the CCI for practicing search bias and the US company’s appeal against the case is still pending. In 2019, the CCI also looks into the allegation that Google exploits its position to prevent smartphone makers from opting for OSs other than its Android.

This year, the Competition Commission of India is pending another case that alleges Google of abusing its dominant position to promote its own payment app in India.

>>> Paytm Pulled From Play Store, Founder Thinks Google Is Trying To Promote Google Pay

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