Google says the Indian competition regulator’s order is a “major setback for Indian consumers and businesses” and it is reviewing the decision to evaluate “next steps.”
The Competition Commission of India fined Google $161.9 million on Thursday for anti-competitive practices related to Android mobile devices and ordered a number of redressal measures that could force Google to make fundamental changes to its business strategies.
A Google told TechCrunch in a statement that the regulator’s order also opens “serious security risks for Indians who trust Android’s security features,” and raises the “cost of mobile devices for Indians.”
The company did not say what steps it may take, but industry analysts believe that Google will very likely challenge the order.
The antitrust watchdog said in its statement Thursday that device manufacturers should not be forced to install Google’s bouquet of apps and the search giant should not deny access to its Play Services APIs and monetary and other incentives to vendors.
India is Google’s largest market by users. Google’s Android operating system powers 97% of the country’s 600 million smartphones, according to research firm Counterpoint.
Google in 2020 pledged to invest $10 billion in the South Asian market over the coming years. It has already financed up to $5.5 billion in the local telecom giants Jio Platforms and Airtel.
The watchdog was investigating whether Google had assumed dominant position in five different markets: licensable OS for smartphones, app store, web search services, non-OS specific mobile web browsers and online video hosting platform in India.
Google was dominant in all of those relevant markets, the regulator concluded.