Ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the Google Android case on Monday, OSlabs Technology (India) Private Limited (OSlabs), a competitive start-up that built App Bazaar, India’s only native mobile app store, has applied for implementation moved. The application for implementation has been moved through Advocate Shardul S Shroff.
The startup has put the heat on Google (by challenging its appeal) just days before the January 19 deadline set by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the tech giant to comply with its directions in the Android case is approaching.
OSlabs is an Indian homegrown system apps company. In 2015, the OSlabs built and launched Indus OS, a modified (forked) version of Android OS, making the OSlabs a direct competitor to Google in the market for licensable operating systems for smart mobile devices in India.
OSlabs also launched its branded mobile app store (Indus App Bazaar) and distributed it along with Indus OS on the smart mobile devices of partner OEMs. For example, Indus App Bazaar was a direct competitor of Google Play Store in the app store market for Android OS in India.
“It should be noted that the findings and changes prescribed by the Commission are consistent with those prescribed by competition authorities in other jurisdictions, which were also investigating similar allegations against Google,” OSlabs said in its implementation application to the Supreme Court. .
For example, on the basis of its order of 18 July 2018, the European Commission had ordered Google to make similar changes to those prescribed by the Commission in its order of 20 October last year.
Following the decision of the European Commission, Google has made all targeted changes, without requiring any stay of these changes. Accordingly, Google has already implemented many of these changes in other jurisdictions, and all it takes is for them to implement them in India as well; there is no reason why India should not be treated equally with other jurisdictions, the implementation application added.
Rakesh Deshmukh, co-founder, CEO, Indus OS, said Google has challenged the CCI ruling against it in the Supreme Court of India. In its plea in apex court, Google has stated that the ruling will slow down the growth of the country’s Android ecosystem, thus negatively impacting all stakeholders and also driving up the price of the device.
“However, the argument is contradictory, as competition breeds innovation, which only makes technology more affordable for everyone. Google itself has pointed out that the prices of smartphone devices have dropped dramatically over the past five years. This has only been made possible by innovations in mobile hardware. The CCI ruling against Google very clearly encourages software innovation, which will only help bring down the prices of smartphone devices, ensuring even further digital penetration rather than slowing down the growth of the Android ecosystem by driving up the price of the device,” said Deshmukh. .
He said that this democratization (by CCI) in software innovation will drive further penetration of the Android ecosystem in the Indian market. This will also ensure a level playing field for players like Indus OS and MapmyIndia, by ensuring unrestricted distribution within the Android ecosystem, he added.
In its ruling, CCI categorically demonstrated multiple anti-competitive actions by Google over the past decade. In fact, it has sunk Indian entrepreneurs in the Android ecosystem with unfair and restrictive Google policies.
“The CCI ruling against Google is a step towards the next phase of the digital revolution in the country. It will enable more players to exist in the current monopolistic market which will lead to more innovation which duly considers the needs of the Indian users giving them freedom of choice thereby ensuring higher digital penetration and driving down device prices further lower,” said Deshmukh. added.
Meanwhile, the OSlab deployment application said, “The applicant (OSlabs) invested nearly two years of R&D in building the Indus OS and launched this OS and App Store with Micromax in 2015, and then also collaborated with other Indian mobile brands.
Due to Google’s anti-competitive behavior, which was investigated and proven by the Commission in its decision of 20 October last year, the applicant had no choice but to stop further investments in its OS business since 2017-2018. Subsequently, in 2019, the applicant relaunched Indus App Bazaar as a standalone Business 2 Business (B2B) app store with more than 4,00,000 apps, which can be downloaded on smart mobile devices running Android OS”.