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India orders ‘antitrust’ investigation against Google over smart TVs

New Delhi: Google has run into trouble in India. Recently, the social media giant has been staggering under anti-trust investigation in Europe, and a report in TechCrunch has now hinted that India might be carrying out its own inquiry as well. According to reports, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found that Google, because of its Android, has abused its dominant position in the Smart TV segment. In its report, the commission suggested that manufacturers of Smart TVs do not have another choice than to install Google’s apps as their operating system.

CCI stated that its prima facie judgment is that Google has made the pre-installation of its proprietary apps, namely Google Play Store, a condition of signing Android Compatibility Commitments for all Android-based devices manufactured, distributed, and marketed by all manufacturers. Because of this, manufacturers are less likely to develop and sell devices that operate on alternative versions of the operating system. This, it said, has snowballed into a very limited technical or scientific development.

The commission also noted that the Android Compatibility Commitments (ACC) prevented other brands from manufacturing or selling devices that run on rival Android OS, and, given the dominance that Google holds in the segment, this results in a denial of market access for developers who have created alternative Android OS.

Android Smart TVs sold in India include some pre-installed apps that CCI said were an unfair condition placed on manufacturers. Apparently, the commission is calling for further investigation into the workings of Google in this segment. In the meantime, Google has denied engaging in any malpractice, asserting that its licensing practices in the segment were fully compliant with the law.


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