Antitrust investigation of Google in India for alleged abuse of dominant position in the Smart TV market.

Google has landed in trouble as India orders an antitrust investigation over Android smart TVs. It has recently been reeling under antitrust investigation in Europe, and a media report has now suggested that India might be carrying out its investigation.

The Competition Commission of India has stated that tech giant Google, which has a dominant position in the Smart TV segment due to its Android, has been abusing its power and ordered antitrust investigations.

The commission said that Smart TV makers do not have any alternative to Android for making their products, and therefore forced to install Google apps.

CCI said that its prima facie assumption is that Google has made the pre-installation of its proprietary apps, Google Play Store, in particular, conditional when signing the Android Compatibility Commitments (ACC) for all Android-based devices are manufactured, distributed, or marketed by the manufacturers.

Therefore, it has reduced manufacturers’ ability and the incentive to develop and sell devices that operate on alternative operating systems. It has snowballed into a limited technical or scientific development related to these goods.

The commission also noted that the ACC rendered other brands unable to manufacture or sell devices operating on rival Android OS. Considering the dominance that Google holds in the segment leads to a denial of market access to those developers that created an alternative Android OS.

The Android Smart TVs sold in India have some must-have pre-installed apps, which is an unfair condition imposed on Smart TVs’ manufacturers.

These aspects call for a further antitrust investigation into Google’s working in this segment. However, Google has denied indulging in any malpractice, asserting that it firmly believes in its licensing practices in the segment complied with the law.

In 2019, India’s smart TV sales were 8 million units, and three-fifth of it were based on Google’s Android operating system. India is the largest user market for Google, and last year, the tech giant promised to invest 10 billion USD in the country.

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