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Google CCI

Android antitrust case: CCI seeks smartphone sales, internet usage data from research firms

Google CCI

Widening the scope of investigation in Google Android antitrust case in India, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has reached out to third parties including research firms for more data on smartphone sales and internet usage.

The antitrust body has asked data, particularly belonging to India’s smartphones sales trend, apps on Android and usage of internet on them from research firms Counterpoint Research and International Data Corporation India (IDC).

While Counterpoint is still framing its response, IDC has submitted a response in this regard, said an ET report quoting people aware of the development.

The CCI had sent queries to third parties to seek more data and information in July.

The antitrust body had earlier talked to mobile makers and Android service users in the country. The CCI also asked them to submit details of the licence fee and Google services.

Earlier in April, CCI, in a prima facie finding, marked that the search engine appeared to reduce the ability of device manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system.

It further ordered a wider probe against the search engine giant and asked the DG to complete the investigation and submit the investigation report within five months.

Last year, three young researchers – Umar Javeed, Sukarma Thapar and Aaqib Javeed at CCI had filed the case against Google.

In a complaint, they alleged inter alia abuse of dominant positions by Google in the mobile operating system related markets in contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Act.

Google has engaged in different kinds of anti-competitive practices, either in the market in which they are dominant or in separate markets, to cement its dominant position in Online General Web Search Services and Online Video Hosting Platform, they added.

Google reportedly dominates Indian Android market with over 90% market share. Based on public sources, the researchers also alleged that Google is dominant in the Online Video Hosting Platform market in India with YouTube holding a market share of 80%.

However, Google in its submission said Android users have considerable freedom to customize their phones and to install apps that compete with Google, as per CCI order. The company further said that it would work with the watchdog to demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.

In February 2018, CCI had imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for an online search.

If found guilty, the search engine might face another penalty.

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