- Google has moved to Karanataka High Court
- It is seeking more time to respond to the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s questions over its anti-competitive practices
- Google reduced “the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android.”
- Google’s reckless behaviour was the removal of the Paytm app from Google Playstore
Google, the American technology giant which is known for stifling competition on its platforms, has moved to Karanataka High Court, seeking more time to respond to the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s questions over its anti-competitive practices.
Previously CCI has found that Google is abusing its dominant position with respect to Android. For the last two years, CCI is probing Google over the monopoly practices of the company. It posted a series of questions to the company which Google was supposed to reply by 31st December, but now the company is seeking more time to do the same.
“We have filed a writ in Karnataka High Court regarding the interim relief application in the Google Play probe by the CCI, seeking to move forward in line with established due process principles. We respect the CCI’s investigative process and will continue to engage cooperatively and constructively in the interest of a fair investigation,” said a Google spokesperson.
According to a June report by the Competition Commission of India, Google reduced “the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android.”
Android is the dominant operating system in Indian mobile phones, controlling more than 90 per cent of the market share. Thanks to Android’s dominance, Google pre-installs many of its apps on the system. Also, it takes money from the other companies to pre-install their apps on Smartphones.
In the last few months, Google has received backlash across the world for abusing the dominance of Andriod and Playstore, and regulators in many countries imposed fines worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the company.
The American companies, especially its technology MNCs like Amazon, Google, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft abuse the law of the land in most of the countries. These companies have unparalleled access to data and enormous financial resources and disposal to ensure that they can either kill or buy out competitors.
In India, the most recent case of Google’s reckless behaviour was the removal of the Paytm app from Google Playstore. Before that, Google earned the ire of the Indian startup community after its decision to enforce a 30% commission it charges on payments made within apps on the Android store.
While Google denied app removal allegations, the Indian startup sector was rocked by the news of Google removing Paytm from its Play Store which caused a huge uproar amongst the community.
While Google restored Paytm on its Play Store after a few hours with Paytm making certain changes, the damage had been done.
Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma launched a sharp rebuke as he termed Google as the “big daddy” that controls the “oxygen supply of (app) distribution” on Android phones during the video conference.
After that, many Indian startup founders decided to come together and explore an alternative to Playstore in order to teach the company and lesson, and the work in this direction is in progress.
The executives present on the call also discussed filing antitrust complaints and approaching Google’s India head for its decision with Google defending its policy claiming that 97% of apps worldwide comply with the same.
India has a thriving startup ecosystem that can be de-accelerated by monopolistic companies like Google and Facebook for petty profits.
With the CCI reports, the problems of Google are expected to accentuate and the anti-trust wave against the company is expected to strengthen globally. But now the company is using the lethargic Indian judicial system to ensure delays in the response to CCI’s questions.
The Indian government, regulatory and law enforcement agencies, and most importantly, the judiciary needs to take a hard stance against American MNC’s efforts to stifle India’s thriving startup ecosystem.