India’s Supreme Court has recently heard an appeal from Google challenging massive fines issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in 2018. The CCI had found Google guilty of abusing its dominant position in the country’s online search market and had imposed a fine of Rs. 136.86 crore ($19.5 million).
Google challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court, arguing that the CCI had failed to consider the fact that Google’s services are free and that it does not charge users for its services. The company also argued that its services are not anti-competitive as they do not limit the access of any user to any other service.
The Supreme Court has now asked the CCI to consider the arguments presented by Google and to provide its response in four weeks. The Court has also asked the CCI to explain why it imposed such a hefty fine on Google.
The case is being closely watched by the tech industry in India as it could set a precedent for how the country’s competition laws are applied to tech giants. If the Supreme Court upholds the CCI’s ruling, it could have far-reaching implications for the industry, with other tech companies facing similar penalties.
The case is also being seen as a test of the Indian government’s commitment to protecting competition in the digital economy. With the country’s economy increasingly moving online, it is important for the government to ensure that competition is not stifled by the dominance of a few large companies.
The outcome of the case will be keenly watched by the tech industry in India, and it remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will rule on Google’s appeal.
Google has lost its court bid to avoid paying a fine of $162 million imposed on it by India’s Competition Commission. The Commission found Google guilty of abusing its dominant position in the Android Mobile device ecosystem and its operation of the Play Store. To remedy this, Google was ordered to make several changes, such as allowing third-party app stores to be sold on the Play Store, giving users the choice of a default search engine other than Google, ceasing payments to handset makers for search exclusivity, and not denying access to Android APIs to developers who build apps for Android forks. Google appealed the decision to India’s National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) but was denied. Google then took the case to India’s Supreme Court, which also denied the appeal and sent the case back to NCLAT for consideration. These changes remain a possibility, although some, such as allowing third-party app stores, are already in place. Google has argued that the changes will harm the Android ecosystem, while an Indian official has dangled the prospect of creating a government-backed mobile OS to cut through Google’s market dominance. Google must now pay the first ten percent of the fine, which is $16 million. Despite this amount being small in comparison to its income, Google has attempted to overturn the decision, suggesting that it is concerned about more than just the money.