India is one of Google‘s most important markets, and the market share of Android phones in the country is over 95%. However, it is not just about the operating system all Android phones come pre-installed with Google’s applications, which means millions of users use Google’s services by default.
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Users use Chrome for browsing, Gmail for email, Play Store for installing apps, and so on. Because of this dominance, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) launched an investigation in 2019 to determine Google’s role in stopping competitors. After two years, we now have the results of the investigation.
As per the investigation report reviewed by the Times of India, the CCI said that Google has adopted anti-competitive, unfair, and restrictive business practices on its smartphone operating system and other related components. The survey found that Google has earned a huge user base by promoting its services and applications, thereby disrupting competition in the Indian market.
Google, through its popular services like Search, YouTube, Chrome, Play Store, etc., hopes to make a place in the behavior of the people of the country on the Internet. By forcing OEMs to pre-install these apps on every Android smartphone, Google wants to ensure that users who buy new smartphones will only use their apps and services by default, thus preventing third-party access, create an anti-competitive and unfair approach. The report claims that Google has enforced unilateral contracts with both device makers and application makers, thereby denying competitors access to the market.
The core of Google’s GMS is an important part of every Android device. The package includes some of Google’s own applications that come pre-installed when you buy a new Android phone. Google mandates that OEMs include it on every Android device. Recently, Google has provided incentives for smartphone makers to use the Google dialer app and messaging app as the default app, rather than the custom app found on many phones with a custom UI. The report also recommended how Google keeps the search bar on the home screen as a widget by default, encouraging more people to use its search engine.
Please note that these are only the findings of the report submitted to the CCI for consideration. The opposition party in the matter, Google, will have an opportunity to express its views and defend its actions before passing a verdict. If found guilty, Google will have to pay a fine or stop these unfair practices, or both.
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