IndOS: The time for nagging about unaccountable hegemony of BigTech ended a long time back. After countless nudging to mend the errant ways of MAANG companies, the Indian government is taking all the proactive and assertive steps to end the monopoly of BigTech, once and for all.
IndOS: Sowing the seeds of Atma Nirbharta in Operating System
With steps like ‘Make in India’ and PLI scheme, India took a giant leap in the Mobile manufacturing sector. But the over-dependence on foreign players particularly on Google and Apple was always the cause of concern. The dependence is such that, in a worst-case scenario, these big tech companies can cripple the Operating System market in India. This gave an undue leverage to these private entities to act above the Indian constitution.
However, several developments in the past few months indicate that things are moving in the positive direction. The Modi government is pushing aggressively to end the undemocratic hold of these Big Tech companies in the software market. To counter the undue dominance of Google and Apple in India’s OS market, India is reportedly working on our Desi Operating System (IndOS).
Reportedly, the project is being touted as IndOS. It will be a homegrown mobile operating system. It is purported to be an initiative of the Modi government along with several start-ups and academia.
The objective behind IndOS is to create a secure Indian mobile operating system that could also create choices and competition to the two established players, Android and iOS.
Currently, Google and Apple enjoy lion’s share in the OS market. As per Statista, Android has a leading position in mobile operating systems worldwide. In the fourth quarter of 2022, it held around 71.8% share, while iOS accounted for around 27.6% of the OS market. In India, the market is further skewed in favour of Google. It accounts for nearly 97% of the OS market while Apple’s iOS maintains a very small presence.
The Original Equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have lauded this development of having our own OS for mobile phones.
The backdrop and way forward
In late 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed massive penalties on the tech giant, Google. The market regulator stated that Google was “abusing its market dominant position” in multiple categories.
Imposing a fine of $161 million on Alphabet Inc-owned Google, the CCI asked Google to change restrictions currently imposed on OEMs which force them to pre-install a host of apps launched by Google.
Also Read: CCI tears Google a new one
In wake of this fine, Google recently issued veiled threats. It claimed that the decision by CCI will force it to change its long-standing business model. It added that this step will make smartphones more expensive, harm the internet, increase risks to privacy and increase the cost for app developers.
However, Google forgot that threats don’t work against India and Indians. Such statements boomerang badly and this development of indigenous OS, IndOS, is just the beginning of India’s journey in the software sphere, particularly OS.
With a calibrated approach, this step by the Indian government can completely revolutionise our progress in the software market. After the initial success of this IndOS, the Modi government can start issuing graded notifications making it mandatory for OEMs to have this Desi OS. In that case, the user will be able to exercise independent choice in downloading software applications rather than to be compulsorily hooked in the want of compatibility issues of the OS and the apps.
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