Google Announces Major Changes for Android Device Manufacturers in India Following the Supreme Court’s Upholding of the CCI Order

Google announced on Wednesday that it will allow device manufacturers in India to licence its individual apps for pre-installation and that users will be able to choose their default search engine, ushering in sweeping modifications to the Android operating system.

The action comes after the country’s Supreme Court maintained severe antitrust orders last week, rejecting a Google challenge to a Competition Commission of India ruling that the corporation abused its market position and was ordered to adjust how it markets its Android system in a vital growing region.

Google stated in a blog post that “implementation of these changes across the ecosystem will be a difficult process requiring significant work on our end and, in many cases, extensive work from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and developers.”

Google was concerned about India’s decision since the measures are viewed as being more comprehensive than the European Commission’s 2018 landmark judgement against Android.

According to estimates by Counterpoint Research, around 97 percent of the 600 million smartphones in India use the Android operating system, while 75 percent of the 550 million smartphones in Europe use Android.

In October, the CCI found that Alphabet-owned Google misused its dominant position in Android and ordered Google to eliminate limitations on device manufacturers, particularly those relating to pre-installation of apps and assuring exclusivity of its search. Also, Google was penalised $161 million (roughly Rs. 1,300 crore).

Google has petitioned the Supreme Court in an effort to halt the implementation of the CCI rules, saying that the instructions will stunt the expansion of its Android platform. It stated that it would be compelled to modify agreements with over 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers should the guidelines become effective.

But the Supreme Court declined Google’s request to halt the directions. A lower tribunal, where Google initially contested the Android guidelines, can continue to hear the company’s appeal and must render a decision by March 31.

Google stated, “We continue to respectfully dispute specific portions of the CCI’s rulings.”

The US search giant also said that it is revising the Android compatibility standards to allow partners to create incompatible Android variations.

Google was penalised in Europe for what the Commission deemed to be unlawful limitations on Android mobile device manufacturers. Google is still contesting the case’s record $4.3 billion (about Rs. 35,100) fine.

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