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India orders antitrust investigation against Google over smart TV market

India orders antitrust investigation against Google over smart TV market

India’s antitrust watchdog has ordered an investigation into allegations that Google has abused the dominant position of Android in the country’s smart TV market. The news comes hours after the European Union opened a formal antitrust investigation into allegations that Google abuses its leading role in the advertising-technology sector.

In its initial review, the Competition Commission of India, which began looking into these allegations last year, said Google had breached certain anti-competitive laws. An investigation of this scale can take quarters, if not over a year, to resolve.

“The Commission is of the prima facie opinion that by making pre-installation of Google’s proprietary apps (particularly Play Store) conditional upon signing of ACC (Android Compatibility Commitments) for all Android devices manufactured/distributed/marketed by device manufacturers, Google has reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android i.e. Android forks, and thereby limited technical or scientific development relating to goods or services to the prejudice of consumers in contravention of Section 4(2)(b) of the Act,” the watchdog said in its 24-page order.

“Further, ACC prevents OEMs from manufacturing/ distributing/ selling any other device which operate on a competing forked Android operating system. Therefore, given the dominance of Google in the relevant markets and pronounced network effects, by virtue of this restriction, developers of such forked Android operating system are denied market access resulting in violation of Section 4(2)(c) of the Act.”

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Google, which counts India as its largest market by users and last year committed to investing $10 billion in the country, denied any wrongdoing. “We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

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Shawn Utley

Shawn previously worked as a journalist for several local newspapers until he realized the potential of internet for news reporting. He joined the team as a contributor which provided him a platform to dedicate his experience and knowledge for a wider range of audience. He excels in curating business news for the website.

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