New Delhi: The Competition Commission has ordered a detailed probe against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices in the smart television operating systems market in the country.
After assessing a complaint, the watchdog has reached the prima-facie view that Google is dominant in the relevant market for licensable smart TV device operating systems in India.
In a 24-page order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that prima-facie mandatory pre-installation of all the Google applications under TADA amounts to imposition of unfair conditions on the smart TV device manufacturers.
The latter contravenes Section 4(2)(e) of the Act and all these aspects warrant a detailed investigation, CCI said in the order dated June 22.
TADA refers to Television App Distribution Agreement (TADA). Section 4 pertains to abuse of dominant position.
“The emerging smart TV sector in India is thriving, due in part to Google’s free licensing model and Android TV competes with numerous well-established TV OSs such as FireOS, Tizen, and WebOS,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Citing submissions made by Google, the regulator said the company enters into two agreements with Android TV licensees — TADA and Android Compatibility Commitment (ACC).
Also, the AOSP license does not grant OEMs the right to use the Android logo and other Android related trademarks. In order to obtain those rights, Google requires OEMs to sign an optional, non-exclusive agreement TADA. Further, TADA requires the OEMs to be in compliance with a valid and effective ACC.
The regulator said it was of the prima facie opinion that by making pre-installation of Google’s proprietary apps (particularly Play Store) conditional upon signing of ACC for all android devices manufactured/distributed/marketed by device manufacturers, Google has reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android such as Android forks.
“Further, ACC prevents OEMs from manufacturing/distributing/ selling any other device which operates on a competing forked Android operating system,” it noted.
The regulator has also mentioned about Google’s submissions wherein the company has asserted that licensing of Android operating system is not conditional upon signing of either of the two agreements — TADA and ACC are optional.