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CCI orders thorough probe against Google for misuse of dominant position

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Sensing a potential abuse of the dominant position by Google in pushing Android against its rivals in India, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation. The antitrust watchdog has been examining the merit of accusations against the search giant since last year.

Last month, CCI had established merit in the accusations leveled by rivals and ordered a thorough investigation. Citing sources, a Reuters report mentioned that accusations are similar to what Google had faced in Europe.

While details of accusations have not been covered in the report, if CCI’s probe establishes anything on the lines of European Union verdict then Google may have to shell out several billion as a penalty.

Previous reports covering the matter hint that Google imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. Thus, Google had used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine.

EU had fined $5 billion for forcing manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and its Chrome browser and Google Play app store on Android devices.

In the case of abusing the dominant position, CCI can impose a penalty up to 10% of the relevant turnover of an entity in the last three fiscals. In India, 99% of smartphones are powered by Android’s operating system.

However, it’s also possible that Google will get a clean chit in the matter.

About 15 months ago, CCI had imposed Rs 136 crore penalty on Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search after six years prolonged trial. The decision of watchdog to launch a thorough probe could put Google at a risk of facing penalty and loss of reputation.

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