Indian Watchdog Launches Investigation Into Google’s Android OS

Indian Watchdog Launches Investigation Into Google’s Android OS

June 22, 2021 at 10:06PM

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is launching an investigation into Google’s Android operating system over accusations that the U.S. search giant abused its rank in the country’s smart TV market, Reuters reported on Tuesday (June 22).

The CCI first started taking a closer look into the issue after two attorneys in the country — Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand — lodged a complaint against Google. India’s watchdog launched an initial inquiry that discovered that Google was violating some of the country’s anti-competition mandates.

The watchdog’s director general determined that it was “convinced that a case is made out for directing an investigation” according to Reuters. Google said in a statement to Reuters that it has done nothing wrong and had helped fuel the smart TV movement in India because of its free licensing model. Google also maintained that Android TV is in competition with other television operating systems in the country.

“We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws,” a company spokesperson said, per the news outlet.

Wi-Fi-enabled television with apps for streaming services have grown in popularity, with some 8 million sold in India in 2019, Reuters reported, citing Counterpoint Research data. Some 3 in 5 smart TVs sold in the country were powered by Google’s Android operating system.

The two Indian lawyers that filed the case against Google told Reuters they were looking forward to the official investigation. Both told Reuters that Google was the reason virtual goods and services were curtailed in India. 

The case will be Google’s third ongoing antitrust investigation in India, where it faces a probe into its payments app and Android mobile operating system. Reuters reported last week that an investigation into the smart TV case was likely soon.

The European Union is already launching an investigation into digital advertising tactics and will assess whether competition laws were broken.

Since January 2020, the smart home market in the EU has increased in the last year, growing by 18.1 percent over the same quarter from 2018.