CCI investigates Google for alleged unfair trading practices in mkt television operating systems

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The Competition Commission has ordered a detailed investigation against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices in the smart TV operating system market in the country.

After assessing a complaint, the watchdog found prima facie that Google is dominant in the relevant market for smart TV operating systems licensed in India.

In a 24-page order, the Competition Commission of India (ICC) said the mandatory prima facie pre-installation of all Google apps under TADA was tantamount to imposing unfair terms on smart TV makers.

This is a violation of Section 4 (2) (a) of the Competition Act, the regulator said, adding that it was also “a prima facie effect on Google’s domination of the Play Store to protect relevant markets such as online video hosting services offered by YouTube, etc. ”.

The latter contravenes section 4 (2) (e) of the Act and all these aspects warrant a full investigation, CCI said in the June 22 order.

TADA refers to the Television Application Distribution Agreement (TADA). Article 4 concerns the abuse of a dominant position.

A Google spokesperson said: “We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices comply with all applicable competition laws.”

“The emerging smart TV industry in India is flourishing, in part thanks to Google’s free licensing model, and Android TV competes with many well-established TV operating systems such as FireOS, Tizen and WebOS,” he said. the spokesperson said in a statement.

Citing comments made by Google, the regulator said the company has entered into two agreements with Android TV licensees – TADA and Android Compatibility Commitment (ACC).

Google makes Android Open Source Project (AOSP) available to third parties under an open source license, but the AOSP license does not grant original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) the right to distribute Google’s proprietary applications such as Play Store and YouTube.

Additionally, the AOSP license does not grant OEMs the right to use the Android logo and other Android-related marks. In order to obtain these rights, Google requires OEMs to sign a voluntary, non-exclusive TADA agreement. In addition, TADA requires OEMs to comply with a valid and effective ACC.

The regulator said it was prima facie of the view that by making pre-installation of Google’s proprietary apps (especially Play Store) conditional on ACC signing for all Android devices manufactured / distributed / marketed By device makers, Google has reduced the ability and incentive for device makers to develop and sell devices that run on alternative versions of Android such as Android forks.

“… thereby limiting technical or scientific development concerning goods or services to the prejudice of consumers in violation of section 4 (2) (b) of the (Competition) Act.

“In addition, ACC prevents OEMs from making / distributing / selling any other device that runs on a competing fork Android operating system,” he noted.

The regulator also mentioned Google submissions in which the company claimed that the license of the Android operating system is not conditional on signing either of the two agreements – TADA and ACC are optional.

“In this regard, the Commission is of the view prima facie that Google’s application store, i.e. Play Store, is prima facie considered to be an ‘indispensable’ application, in the absence of which the marketing of Android devices may be restricted. Since then, the pre-installation license of the Play Store depends on the execution of TADA and ACC between Google and the OEMs, therefore, these agreements become de facto binding, ”he says. ‘arrangement.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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