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Google alleges that the antitrust body in India copied parts of the EU order on Android abuse




  • India antitrust rulings latest setback for Google in key market
  • Google wants Indian antitrust rulings overturned
  • Indian watchdog copied parts of EU order, Google claims
  • Google says the conduct is not anticompetitive – filing

NEW DELHI, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Google has told an Indian court that the country’s antitrust investigators copied parts of a European ruling against the U.S. firm for abusing the market dominance of its Android operating system, arguing that the ruling should be overturned, legal papers performance.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in October fined Alphabet Inc’s Google GOOGL.O $161 million for abusing its dominant position in markets such as web search and the Android app store, and asked it to change restrictions imposed on smartphone makers related to pre-installing apps.

Sources told Reuters in October that Google was concerned about the Indian decision as the remedies ordered were seen as more far-reaching than the European Commission’s 2018 ruling to impose illegal restrictions on Android mobile devices. Google has challenged a record fine of 4.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in that case.

In its submission to an Indian appellate court, Google argues that the CCI’s investigative unit “copy-pasted extensively from a decision of the European Commission, distributing evidence from Europe that was not examined in India”.

“There are more than 50 instances of copypating,” in some cases “word-for-word,” and the watchdog erroneously dismissed the issue, Google said in its filing, which is not public but has been reviewed by Reuters.

“The Commission failed to conduct an impartial, balanced and legally sound investigation … Google’s mobile app distribution practices are pro-competitive and not unfair/exclusionary.”

Spokesmen for CCI and the European Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Google said in a statement that it decided to appeal the CCI’s decision as it believes “it represents a major setback for our Indian users and businesses”. It did not comment on the copying and pasting allegations in its filing.

Google has asked the court to set aside the CCI’s order, and the matter will be heard on Wednesday.

The Indian competition decision came as Google faces increased antitrust scrutiny worldwide. Google licenses its Android system to smartphone makers, but critics say it imposes restrictions that are anticompetitive.

The American firm says Android has created more choices for everyone, and such agreements help keep the operating system free. In Europe, 75% of 550 million smartphones run Android, compared to 97% of 600 million devices in India, Counterpoint Research estimates.

The CCI ruled in October that Google’s licensing of the Play Store “shall not be tied to the pre-installation requirement” of Google’s search services, the Chrome browser, YouTube or other Google applications.

In its appeal, Google claims that the CCI has only found antitrust violations related to Google’s search app, the Chrome browser and YouTube, but the order “extends beyond” that.

Separately, Google has also appealed another Indian antitrust ruling in which it was fined $113 million for restricting the use of third-party billing or payment processing services in India. The appeal has not yet been processed.

($1 = 0.9493 euros)

Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil; Additional reporting by Arpan Chaturvedi; Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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