Indian regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday accused Google of creating a digital data hegemony while calling for a market that is “free, fair” and promotes “open competition.”
Speaking before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman said in concluding CCI arguments that more freedom for everyone in the tech industry would hold up the ideals of free competition as opposed to the walled garden approach that is now preferred by tech giants like Google.
What’s happening with Google in India?
Just year, the CCI slapped two hefty fines on the US-based tech giant. The first penalty worth ₹1,337.76 crore was in relation to Google’s anti-competitive practices in the Android smartphone ecosystem. Google was ordered to stop its unfair business practices by the CCI. This is the ruling that was challenged before the NCLAT that is currently in process. Another fine worth ₹936 crore was also imposed on Google for its anti-competitive Play Store practices.
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CCI’s rep said that Google has been using its search engine as a “castle” of sorts with its other apps playing the role of a defensive “moat.” Using this “castle and moat” analogy, Venkataraman said that Google has established data hegemony; always expanding at the cost of smaller players.
He asserted that CCI’s remedial steps would bring more freedom to the market and allow players to capitalise on the benefits of free and fair competition as opposed to what Google has built with its “walled garden,” PTI reported.
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CCI also referred to mandatory pre-installation, premier placement of its own apps as one of many unfair practices undertaken by Google to exploit its dominant position.
Google has challenged the CCI order, but was ordered by a different NCLAT bench to pay 10% of the ₹1,337 crore penalty. NCLAT began hearing the matter on February 15 after the Supreme Court asked the tribunal to take a call on the appeal before March 31.
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