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Google appeals CCI ruling on Android at NCLAT

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Google on Friday announced that it was appealing a ruling by the Competition Commission of India that ordered the company to stop a wide range of practices that keep Google’s position dominant in the Android OS ecosystem. The company had been fined ₹1,337 crore in that ruling, along with a different ruling on its Play Store billing practices, which the company hasn’t yet moved to appeal. 

The CCI had also ruled (among other things) that device manufacturers shouldn’t be required to pre-install Google’s suite of apps on phones they sell as a condition for allowing the Play Store to come pre-installed, and that no monetary or other incentives should be offered to make Google Search the default on phones.

The ruling also said that Google would have to remove a security warning that appears when users try to install applications on their devices that are not from the Play Store. 

A Google spokesperson said that the CCI’s order “presents a major setback for our Indian users and businesses who trust Android’s security features, and potentially [risks] raising the cost of mobile devices.” 

The spokesperson added that the company is pursuing its appeal at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. Lawyers and experts surveyed by the tech policy news site MediaNama overwhelmingly expressed optimism that Google would have a good chance if it appealed, as some of the demands in CCI’s order could risk harming user security and developers.

Google plans on arguing that even phone manufacturers like Karbonn and Micromax believe that the CCI order could be harmful, and that costs of handsets may rise as a result, and that developers would be less attracted to make apps for Android.

Over the last few months, the Competition Commission of India has gone from cautiously sidestepping regulating tech giants’ dominance to slapping huge fines on firms like Google and MakeMyTrip.

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