India Hits Google With Antitrust Probe, Eyes Alleged Abuse of Android Monopoly

Indian authorities are investigating whether Google is using its dominant market share in mobile operating systems to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, according to a published report.

Google’s Android OS runs about 90 percent of mobile handsets sold in India. The Competition Committee of India is looking into complaints that the company, a unit of Alphabet Inc., is using its stranglehold on the market to give its own mobile browser, search and app products greater prominence on Android phones at the expense of rival offerings.

The investigation’s existence was first reported by Reuters. Citing unnamed sources, the news agency said it would take the CCI about a year to carry out the probe and that it’s likely that Google execs would be hauled before the agency.

The head of Google’s India operations, Rajan Anandan, stepped down this month. There are no indications that his resignation was connected to the antitrust investigation.

The complaints against Google in India are similar to what landed Alphabet in hot water with EU regulators, which fined the company a record $5 billion for antitrust violations last year. The search giant has filed an appeal.

In India, the CCI could hit Google with fines equivalent to 10% of the revenue generated by products related to the investigation for the past three financial years.

Shares of Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) closed down 1.78% for the week ending May 10, to $1,164.27.

The cases recall similar probes into Microsoft that arose from Redmond’s dominance of the desktop PC market through the Windows operating system. Microsoft ultimately agreed to provide users with greater choice of web browsers, a move that has seen its Explorer and Edge browsers lose considerable market share to, ironically, Google Chrome in recent years.

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