New Delhi, October 09: Alphabet Inc's Google is facing a new antitrust case in India in which the US tech giant is alleged to have abused its Android operating system's position in the smart television market. The case is Google's fourth major antitrust challenge in India, one of its key markets where it is currently facing public criticism from local startups for enforcing certain policies and company charges they contend hurt their growth.
It also comes as Google faces new antitrust challenges in the United States, and a potential antitrust probe in China that is set to look into how it allegedly uses its dominance of its Android mobile operating system to stifle competition. Google meanwhile has denied any wrongdoing. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has since June been looking into allegations that Google engages in anti-competitive practices by creating barriers for firms wanting to use or develop modified versions of Android for smart TVs, such as Amazon Fire TV's operating system, according to the source, who has direct knowledge of the case.
The case has been filed by two Indian antitrust lawyers, Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand. The antitrust watchdog could order a wider investigation against Google if it finds merit in the allegations, or throw out the case completely. Smart TVs, or WiFi-enabled TVs with apps for streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, have become increasingly popular in India.
In 2018, the CCI fined Google Rs 1.36 billion for 'search bias', but a company appeal against that is pending. The CCI last year also started probing Google for allegedly misusing its dominant position to reduce the ability of smartphone makers to opt for alternate versions of its Android system. Earlier this year, the CCI started reviewing a case alleging that Google abuses its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in the country.