Google is no stranger to being punished for abusing its dominance to keep rivals at bay – and it’s now facing yet another antitrust investigation.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found that Google may have used its powerful position in the country to limit the ability of device manufacturers to utilise alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system. News of the probe first came to light in May.
The 14-page order from the CCI, which was reviewed by Reuters, says that Google “reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operated on alternate versions of Android”.
The case bears similarities one faced by the tech giant in Europe. Here, the company was hit with a €4.3bn fine for using its position to impose restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. In particular, it was accused of forcing device makers to set Google as their default search engine and pre-installing the Chrome browser, as well as preventing manufacturers from selling devices powered rival operating systems, and giving device makers and mobile operators financial incentives to ensure they provided Google Search as the only pre-installed option.
Google is also well aware of what it’s like to be slapped with a fine from the CCI. In February 2018, it received a fine of 1.36bn rupees (£15.3m at the time) for abusing its position in both online web search and online search advertising markets.