CCI orders antitrust investigation against Google over Android Smart TV market

American tech giant Google Inc. has been alleged to violate India’s antitrust legislation. It is claimed that the American company is exploiting its supreme position in the Indian television market with its Android operating system for televisions. 

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is taking charge of this case and has sanctioned further investigation on the allegations against Google Inc. On June 22, CCI gave the investigation orders and stated that it believed that Google “prima facie” violated Indian antitrust laws and requested the CCI Director General (DG) to conduct further investigations. 

The allegation case was filed last year in May by two antitrust lawyers Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand. They alleged that the American technology firm restricts or bans all the companies that obtain the licence for using its AndroidTV OS from cooperating with any of its competitors.

According to a report by LiveMint in October, “If a TV manufacturer intends to use Google’s operating system, they have to enter into certain agreements. These agreements prohibit them from manufacturing any other device, whether it is televisions or phones on any forked version of Android.”

On the other hand, Google Inc. has denied every such allegation and stated that the reason for its growth in the smart TV division is the free licensing model of Google. A Google spokesperson further stated that, “Android TV competes with many TV OSs such as FireOS, Tizen, and WebOS. We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all laws.”

The CCI DG investigation started in June 2020. According to an anonymous competition law expert, ”The DG is CCI’s fact-finding body and will come up with a report on whether there is a contravention of India’s antitrust law.” Thus, the final verdict on the antitrust violation case by CCI will be considered upon the DG’s report. 

Yuvraj Singh

Writer/blogger

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