Indian Competition Commission launches antitrust probe into Google’s smart tellies

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Indian Competition Commission launches antitrust probe into Google’s smart tellies

Pre-installation of Play Store and other apps on Smart TVs and Androids amounts to leveraging dominance, says watchdog.

India’s Competition Commission has ordered an investigation into Google over the advertising giant’s use of the Android OS in its smart televisions.

In a 24-page order [PDF] released yesterday, the Commission CCI stated it’s “convinced that a case is formed out for guiding an investigation by the [Director General]”.

The Commission asserted that by forcing the pre-installation of Google’s proprietary apps, just like the Play Store, Google had limited the event and sales of other Android versions on all Android devices. The company’s policies also prevent tellie-makers from manufacturing, developing, and selling other devices that run on competing operating systems.

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Furthermore, by requiring TV manufacturers to preinstall apps and restricting consumers from installing other software, Google creates an unfair market. The Commission also argued those policies amount to “leveraging Google’s dominance live Store to guard the relevant markets like online video hosting services offered by YouTube, etc.”

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Sixty percent of the eight million smart TVs sold in India in 2019 used Google’s Android OS. Chinese consumer electronics outfit Xiaomi, which was named within the investigation as another smart teller OEM, held 27 percent of India’s smart TV market in Q1 2020.

Google sent The Register the subsequent statement about India’s actions:

The new probe means Google faces two ongoing antitrust cases in India. In November of 2020, the Commission opened an investigation regarding its bundling of Google Pay with Android.

Google also faces ongoing antitrust actions within the USA and a replacement probe from the ECU Union over its advertising business. China is also threatening to possess a crack at the online giant. ®

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