[the_ad id="83613"]

No respite for Google as Supreme Court refuses to stay NCLAT order


Google has failed to get respite from India’s apex court over the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order that declined to stay the Rs 1,338 crore penalty imposed on the company by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The Supreme Court (SC), however, asked the tribunal to dispose of the appeal filed by Google by March 31, reported LiveLaw. The court also extended the time by one week for Google to comply with the CCI order.

“We are reviewing the details of yesterday’s decision which is limited to interim relief and did not decide the merits of our appeal. Android has greatly benefited Indian users, developers, and OEMs 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 in a statement.

In October 2022, the CCI imposed a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem.

The antitrust body also ordered the company to stop a wide range of practices. For instance, it asked Google to allow device manufacturers 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 CCI 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.

Google later moved the NCLAT challenging the CCI order. The tribunal, however, declined to stay the CCI order and asked the internet firm to deposit 10% of the fine amount. This was followed by Google moving the SC to seek respite in the matter.

Last week, Google in a blog post titled ‘The Heart of The Matter’ argued that the “ordered remedies on Android strike blows” to users’ online safety of mobile internet users. 

“Devices built on incompatible ‘forks’ would prevent Google from securing those devices, as these versions will not support the security and user safety features that Google provides. Lack of robust and consistent security upgrades will leave the users of those devices exposed to cybercrime, bugs, and malware – which is most troubling for the millions of new internet users who are especially vulnerable,” Google said in the post.

The company also cautioned that the move could lead to expensive smartphones in India.

“Since incompatible Android forks will not support the security and user safety features that Google provides, security responsibilities for these devices will instead fall to the OEMs, who will need to invest extensively in creating consistent, all-year-round security upgrades themselves. This will result in higher costs for the OEMs, and consequently, more expensive devices for Indian consumers,” it added.

It’s worth noting that India, home to the world’s second-largest internet population at over 749 million users, is dominated by Google’s Android. Unlike Apple which tightly controls the operating system and iOS-based mobile devices, Google’s Android mobile operating system can be used by different smartphone OEMs, allowing them to offer devices at various price points.

“Today marks one very critical step towards India breaking free from the digital slavery Google has perpetuated on Indians for the last 15 years, and it is the right moment for all Indians – consumers, media, app developers, OEMs, industry and government – to come together to create the our own indigenous Aatmanirbhar ecosystem that gives India its rightful place at the forefront of the world, independent of foreign big tech monopolies,” Mapmyindia CEO Rohan Verma said in a post in response to the SC ruling.

*Update (Jan 20, 12:30pm IST): This article was updated with Google’s statement.

Send Suggestions or Tips