Google fined $162 million by Indian watchdog

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Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

Google has been fined more than $160 million by India’s anti-trust watchdog after a probe found the tech behemoth was abusing its commanding position in the local smartphone market.

The California-based company’s Android mobile operating system is by far the dominant player in India and is run on 95 per cent of all the country’s smartphones, according to research agency Counterpoint.

But the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said the operating system was configured to unlawfully crowd out rivals to YouTube, web browser Chrome and other popular Google apps.

Android had a suite of Google apps pre-installed on its phones, including the company’s own search engine, “which accorded significant competitive edge to Google’s search services over its competitors”, a CCI statement said late Thursday.

“Markets should be allowed to compete on merits and the onus is on (Google) that its conduct does not impinge this competition on merits,” it added.

The commission levied a fine of 13.4 billion rupees ($162 million) and instructed the company to allow Android users to remove pre-installed Google apps.

It also told Google not to enter into any agreement with smartphone makers that would encourage them to only sell Android-based devices or exclusively use its software.

The company said it would review the decision and weigh its next moves.



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