CCI widens probe on Google’s alleged misuse of smartphone market dominance: Report

CCI widens probe on Google’s alleged misuse of smartphone market  dominance: Report
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Anti-trust regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) has reached out to research firms Counterpoint and IDC seeking data and statistics on the smartphone market in India, The Economic Times reported

Citing multiple sources aware of the development, the report said CCI’s director general has sent notices last month to the research firms as part of its efforts to seek third party data on the state of the Indian smartphone and mobile tablet market.

CCI has reportedly asked for statistics on India's smartphone base, smartphone and tablet sales trends over the years, OS, apps on Android besides data on the Internet.

Additionally, the report said the notices covered the following subjects: Google’s alleged misuse of its dominant market position in the smartphone operating system market, mobile app stores, general web search service, web browser apps and video hosting platforms online.

Email queries sent to Google India, IDC and Counterpoint seeking more information on this development did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report.

While IDC has already sent the necessary information, Counterpoint is yet to send its responses, the report added.

The development follows an order from the commission in April following complaints lodged against Google LLC and Google India by three android smartphone users Umar Javeed & Sukarma Thapar of Delhi and Aaqib Javeed of Jammu & Kashmir, a previous CCI disclosure showed.

The complaints alleged that Google was engaging in anti-competitive practises to establish its dominant position in the online general web search services and online video hosting platform (through YouTube).

The complaints accused Google of strong-arming smartphone and tablet manufacturers to exclusively pre-install Google’s own applications or services in order to get any part of GMS (google mobile services)) in smartphones manufactured in/sold in/ exported to/ marketed in India.

This is alleged to have hindered the development and market access of rival mobile applications or services.

Based on these complaints, CCI arrived at the position that mandatory pre-installation of Google mobile services amounted to the imposition of an unfair condition on the device manufacturers.

 A final order is expected to be passed, following a direction where a roughly five-month deadline, from the date of the order, has been stipulated for completion of the investigation.