BENGALURU: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has launched an antitrust probe against tech giant Google over the alleged dominance of its Android Operating System in the Smart TV market in India. Google’s Android OS has a 90 per cent market share in the smart TV segment, which according to the watchdog violates the country’s competition laws.
The regulator, in an order on Tuesday, asked the Director General of CCI, the investigative arm of the regulator, to complete the probe within 60 days and take into cognisance the submissions by Google as well as the informants, who had filed the plea. “At this stage, these parameters are sufficient to indicate the extent of market power enjoyed by Google and, accordingly, the Commission is of the prima facie view that Google is dominant in the relevant market for licensable smart TV device operating systems in India,” CCI said.
It added that Google’s Android operating system’s (OS)whopping 90% share in the smart TV market in India has significantly stifled competitors and prevented further technological research and innovation in contravention of the Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act. Section 3 deals with anti-competitive agreements, while Section 4 deals with abuse of dominant position by a business.
CCI said that the allegations saying it was restricting TV manufacturers from entering into any agreements with alternative OS providers merits investigations. It also dismissed Google’s claims that it faces substantial competition in the smart TV segment where Over the Top Content (OTT) is also viewed through several channels, firesticks, and other connected devices.
The regulator has charged Google of entering into exclusive and restrictive deals with the Android TV makers ensuring the pre-installation of its playstore and various apps on the TVs. Google said that the agreements signed with the smart TV manufacturers are optional. It added that various players like Samsung, LG have also announced OS launches in India increasing competition.