The CCI ordered Google to stop preventing app developers from using other companies for billing or payment purposes and not to restrict end-user use of apps.
New Delhi,UPDATED: 14 Jan. 2023 11:26 AM IST
By Ankita Chakravarti: Google has warned that the latest ruling from the Competition Commission of India will make smartphones more expensive in the country. The tech giant also warned of the potential threat to user security. In 2022, CCI fined Google Rs 2273 crore in two different orders. The company was fined Rs 1337 crore for abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem and Rs 936 crores for abusing its monopoly through the Play Store. CCI had accused Google of making unilateral agreements with smartphone makers to ensure its apps dominate the Android ecosystem.
Google has now approached the Supreme Court against CCI’s ruling. The company has argued that CCI’s move will slow the growth of Android in India.
Why did CCI find Google?
The antitrust watchdog CCI had accused Google of collaborating with smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google apps on the phones. CCI said Google shouldn’t force the smartphone companies to pre-install the apps. The watchdog asked Google to provide fair access to all stakeholders. CCI wants other ecosystems to step in as well, as it feels it is currently dominated by Google. However, the tech giant has claimed it faces stiff competition from Apple.
The CCI said Google has used this power in ways that violate Indian competition laws. The CCI ordered Google to stop preventing app developers from using other companies for billing or payment purposes and not to restrict end-user use of apps. The CCI also told Google not to treat its own payment app, Google Pay, better than other apps that use the same payment system in India.
Google warns of security risks and expensive smartphones
Google has said in a blog post that CCI’s order is a blow to ecosystem-wide efforts to accelerate digital adoption in the country. The search giant said that when Android first launched in 2008, smartphones were very expensive, but in recent years, Google has made it possible for phone manufacturers to make smartphones more affordable.
However, Google argued that creating different versions of the Android operating system, known as “forks,” could harm the consistency and predictability of the ecosystem that has been beneficial to both users and developers for more than 15 years.
The company explained that “forks” are different versions of the Android operating system that have been modified by other companies or organizations and are not fully compatible with the original version of Android developed by Google. The forks will prevent Google from providing security and user safety features to those devices. This is because these “forks” don’t support the security and safety features that Google provided in the original version of Android. This will result in devices being exposed to cybercrime, bugs and malware. The forks could put new Internet users at risk, who are particularly vulnerable.
Google provides security updates and malware scans to ensure that the apps in the Play Store are safe for users. However, the apps running on devices cannot provide the same level of security, putting Indian users at risk of having their data exposed and posing a threat to individual and national security.
Speaking of the rise in smartphone prices, Google said that if companies create their own versions of the Android operating system, known as “forks”, that are not fully compatible with the original version developed by Google, things will get difficult for Google to provide the same level of security and user safety features for those devices. This forces smartphone makers to take responsibility themselves for ensuring the security of those devices.
“This will result in higher costs for the OEMs, and consequently more expensive devices for Indian consumers,” Google said in the blog post.