The global tech-giant Google has been slapped with a fine of over $162 million by India’s antitrust watchdog for abusing its dominant position in the local smartphone market.
As per the press statement released from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Google used its platform to crowd out competitors to its YouTube and Chrome products.
India is currently the second-largest smartphone market around the world, after China. Around 95% of all the nations’ mobile phones use Google’s android-based operating system, which comes preloaded with popular applications owned by the company.
The authorities of India have blamed that the preloaded applications afforded a “major competitive edge to Google’s search services” over its competitors.
“Markets should be permitted to compete on merits and the onus is on Google to ensure its conduct does to impinge this competition on merits,” the CCI noted.
Google can no longer force android users to pre-install its apps and has been ordered not to enter into any new agreements with smartphone makers that would encourage the exclusive use of its software.
While market dominance is not illegal under international law, dominant companies have a “special responsibility” to ensure that this status does not lead to abuse of their market position, especially in restricting competition.
The European Commission recently upheld a 2018 ruling against Google, which was found to have breached EU antitrust laws over similar abuse of market position within the EU market, which forced Google’s parent company, Alphabet, to cough up a total of €4.34 billion ultimately.
Google defended its market position before the EU, noting that its Android-based operating system had “created more choice for everyone, not less, and support thousands of businesses in Europe and around the world.”