After losing a major anti-trust case, Google has announced a series of changes to its Android system in India. The changes include allowing users to choose their default search engine on Android.
The move comes after India’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the country’s anti-trust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which said the company had abused its market position. The CCI fined Google $161 million, accusing it of “unfair” business practices.
The anti-trust proceedings against Google started in October when the CCI asked the tech giant to make several changes to its Android ecosystem. The watchdog said Google was “abusing” the licensing of its Android operating system for a range of smartphones, web searches, browsing, and video hosting services.
It accused Google of entering into “one-sided agreements” with smartphone makers to ensure the dominance of its apps. The CCI said this stifled competition and gave Google continuous access to consumer data and lucrative advertising opportunities. It ordered the company to stop such practices.
Google challenged the CCI’s directives in the Supreme Court, saying, “no other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes.” It argued that the changes directed by the CCI would force the company to alter arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers.
However, the court refused to block the CCI’s directives and said that a lower court, where Google had first challenged the order, could continue hearing the appeal but should give a ruling before the end of March.
Last week, the tech giant said it would cooperate with the watchdog. On Wednesday, the company announced that it would allow device makers in India to license its apps for pre-installation and allow users to choose their default search engine.
Implementation of these changes will be a “complex process,” the company said in a blog post, that would require “significant work at our end and, in many cases, significant efforts from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers.”
Google is facing a series of anti-trust cases in India, and authorities are also investigating its conduct in the smart TV