Google has abused the dominant position of Android in India to illegally hurt competitors in the world’s second-largest internet market, a two-year antitrust probe by the nation’s watchdog has found.
The Android-maker reduced device manufacturing firms’ ability and incentive to develop — and sell — devices running alternative versions of Android (more popularly known as forks); the probe found, according to two people, have been briefed on the findings.
Additionally, the report found Google’s requirement to make it mandatory for device manufacturers to pre-install its apps to violate India’s competition law.
During the investigation, the report said more than five dozen firms, including Amazon and Apple, responded to queries from the Indian watchdog — the Competition Commission of India.
The Indian watchdog also found issues with the way Google has enforced policies on Play Store, saying those are “one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased and arbitrary.”
Google said it looks forward to engaging with the CCI to demonstrate how “Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.” Indian newspaper Times of India first wrote about the report.
The report’s findings — which are yet to be formally published by the CCI — are the latest setback for Google in India. It is facing several other antitrust probes and daggers from a growing number of domestic startups, founders, etc., and investors.
The Alliance of Digital India Foundation, a group of 350 startups, founders, and investors, lauded the CCI report’s findings and said the watchdog’s step “is in line with the Indian digital ecosystem’s needs.”