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    Partial relief for Google in Android antitrust case in India

    The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal gave partial relief to Alphabet Inc.’s Google in an antitrust order that asked the American multinational tech giant to open the platform for fair competition. On Wednesday, the Indian tribunal overturned four of ten antitrust remedies that had been imposed on Google to change its business model.

    In October last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) accused Google of abusing its hegemonic position in the Android ecosystem and ordered the company to lift all limitations placed on device manufacturers, including those relating to the pre-installation of apps. Google was also hit with a $161 million penalty.

    NCLAT upheld the $161 million fine imposed on Google by CCI, noting that the earlier decision “did not violate the standards of natural justice,” but provided some relief to the Android maker. Google will no longer be required to permit the hosting of third-party app stores inside the Play Store, which was previously mandated by the watchdog.

    In January, the Supreme Court of India upheld the antitrust order that asked the tech giant to open the platform for fair competition. The apex court gave Google India a week’s time to comply with the NCLAT notice. The highest court had directed the tribunal to hear the matter on its merits and provide a decision by the end of March.

    Google was anticipating India’s judgment regarding the Android ecosystem. The guidelines were more extensive than those imposed in the historic 2018 verdict against the operating system by the European Commission.

    CCI fined Google Rs 1337.76 crore in October last year for abusing its dominant position by forcefully entering “one-sided agreements” with Android mobile makers to ensure the dominance of its apps and search engine. This has denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on their merits, the CCI noted.

    In the same week that month, CCI again fined Google Rs 936.44 crores for abusing its market position on Play Store to promote its payments app and in-app payment system.

    Author

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    Anubha Pandey

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