The Competition Commission of India (Commission) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,337.76 crores on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android Mobile device ecosystem, apart from issuing cease and desist orders. The CCI also directed Google to modify its conduct within a defined timeline.
The CCI in the instant matter has examined various practices of Google w.r.t. licensing of the Android mobile operating system and various proprietary mobile applications of Google (e.g. Play Store, Google Search, Google Chrome, YouTube, etc.).
For this purpose, the CCI delineated the following five relevant markets in the present matter: the market for licensable OS for smart mobile devices in India, the market for an app store for Android smart mobile OS in India, the market for general web search services in India, market for non-OS specific mobile web browsers in India and market for online video hosting platform (OVHP) in India.
During the course of inquiry, Google argued about the competitive constraints being faced by Apple. In relation to understanding the extent of competition between Google’s Android ecosystem and Apple’s iOS ecosystem, the CCI noted the differences in the two business models which affect the underlying incentives of business decisions.
Further, in relation to app stores, the CCI noted that the demand for the same, comes from three different sets of consumers i.e., (a) Smart device OEMs who wish to install an app store to make their smart devices commercially viable and marketable; (b) app developers, who want to offer their services to the end-users; and (c) end users to wish to access app stores to access content or avail other services.