Google has lost a number of antitrust cases in recent years, which netted the tech company three record-setting fines in Europe. The European Commission looked at Google’s Search, Android, and online ads practices and found that Google abused its position in the market.
Separately, Russian regulators investigated the same alleged Android abuse, which resulted in a different fine, albeit not comparable to the EU’s. In each case, Google had to make several concessions regarding Android. And now India appears to be Google’s next nightmare when it comes to antitrust investigations.
Google has allegedly abused its dominant position in the market to block rivals, two sources familiar with India’s antitrust watchdog’s actions told Reuters. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the local regulator that started looking at a complaint against Google last year. The CCI determined in mid-April that the complaint had merit, ordering its investigation unit to launch a full probe into the matter.
“It is a strong case for the CCI, given the EU precedent,” a source said. “The CCI has (preliminarily) found Google abused its dominant position.”
The EU hit Google with a €4.34 billion ($5 billion) fine in the Android case. Google said it’d fight the ruling, but at the same time decided to modify Android in Europe to give users more choice when it comes to internet browsing apps and default search engines. The EU found that Google’s contracts with Android vendors forced them to install Google Search and Chrome browsers on devices, alongside Google Play.
The CCI’s investigation could take about a year, and Google execs might be summoned before the Commission in the coming months, Reuters reports. Indian regulators could impose fines of up to 10% of the relevant turnover of Google’s last three financial years. However, it’s unclear how much money Google makes from Chrome and Search in the region.
Google meanwhile said via a spokesman that the company is working with the CCI “to demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.” He said that Android had enabled millions of Indians to connect to the internet by making mobile devices more affordable.