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CCI probe finds Google guilty of anti-competitive practices in mobile OS marketplace, report says

The Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) investigation arm has accused Google of anti-competitive and restrictive trade in the smartphone operating technique and connected markets, in what could be a damaging assessment against the US tech giant, following a two-year probe.

The CCI panel identified Google India to be guilty of stifling innovation and competitors to sustain its dominance marketplace position in search, browser (Chrome), music (YouTube), app library (Play Store), and quite a few other essential services, The Times of India reported.

The probe also revealed that Google imposed one-sided contracts on device and app makers to assure primacy of its personal items and applications in customer usage. The contracts also ensured that Google items came pre-installed as default alternatives, tuned for highest efficiency.

The CCI panel questioned Google, whose Android operating technique holds a practically 98 per cent share of the smartphone marketplace, and quite a few firms such as Microsoft, Apple, Paytm, Amazon, PhonePe, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Karbonn, and Mozilla.

The probe panel has submitted the 750-web page report to the CCI, which ordered the probe against Google in April 2019. If identified guilty, the search engine giant could face serious penalties or be ordered to discontinue practices that distort competitors and are anti-customer.

The US tech giant has gone by way of equivalent anti-trust investigations in the US, the European Union, Japan, and Germany.

In India, the probe panel looked into a variety of concerns following complaints made against Google India alleging hindering development and marketplace access of rival services or apps by pushing smartphone makers to pre-set up the company’s proprietary services and/or apps by way of particular exclusive offers.

The CCI probe identified that the search engine category, Google’s major company, had been foreclosing competitors in Android with the search widget becoming placed on device home screens by default and the Chrome browser in the Google apps folder.

With Google’s dominant marketplace position in India by way of the Android operating technique, this permitted the business to additional consolidate the search marketplace, the report stated.

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