The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has upheld the penalty of INR 1,337.76 Cr imposed on Google by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for abusing its dominant position in the Android devices market. The NCLAT, however, set aside certain directions issued by the CCI, including not denying access to Google Play Services Application Programming Interface (APIs) to OEMs, app developers, and existing or potential competitors. The CCI’s direction to not restrict uninstalling of pre-installed apps and allow app stores to distribute their app stores through Google Play Store was also set aside. Google had moved the Supreme Court against the competition watchdog’s order earlier, but it refused to entertain the plea and asked NCLAT to give a judgment by March 31. Last year, CCI had imposed a fine of INR 1,337.7 Cr on Google in the Android devices case and a fine of INR 936 Cr in a separate case related to its Play Store policies.
The intervention of Epic Games, MapMyIndia and OSlabs Technology in the case suggests that they may have some interest in the outcome of the judgement. It remains to be seen what submissions they will make. Google’s argument that the CCI failed to conduct an impartial and balanced investigation and ignored evidence from Indian users, app developers, and OEMs will also be considered by the NCLAT.
It should be noted that the CCI imposed a fine of INR 1,337.7 Cr on Google in the Android devices case last year for abuse of its dominant position in the market. Additionally, the CCI also imposed a separate fine of INR 936 Cr on the company related to its Play Store policies.