Google said on Wednesday it will allow device makers in India to license its individual apps for pre-installation and give users an option to choose their default search engine, announcing sweeping changes to how the Android system works.
The move comes after the country’s Supreme Court last week upheld strict antitrust guidelines and rejected an appeal from Google against a ruling by India’s Competition Commission that said the company abused its market position and ordered the way it marketed its Android system. in an important growth market. .
“Implementing these changes across the entire ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work on our part and, in many cases, significant effort from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers,” Google said in a blog post. .
Google was concerned about India’s decision, as the steps are considered more drastic than those mandated in the landmark 2018 European Commission ruling against Android.
About 97 percent of India’s 600 million smartphones run Android, while in Europe the system accounts for 75 percent of 550 million smartphones, according to estimates by Counterpoint Research.
The CCI ruled in October that Alphabet-owned Google was exploiting its dominant position in Android and told it to lift restrictions on device manufacturers, including those related to pre-installing apps and ensuring exclusivity of its search. It also fined Google $161 million (approximately Rs. 1,300 crore).
Hoping to block implementation of the CCI guidelines, Google had approached the Supreme Court warning that the growth of its Android ecosystem will stop. It said it would be forced to change agreements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers if the guidelines go into effect.
But the Supreme Court disagreed with blocking the guidelines as Google requested. The court had also said that a lower court – where Google is challenging the Android guidelines for the first time – can continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by March 31.
We continue to respectfully appeal certain aspects of the CCI’s decisions.
The US search giant also said it is updating Android compatibility requirements to include changes for partners to build non-compatible variants of Android.
In Europe, Google was fined for introducing what the Commission called illegal restrictions on makers of Android mobile devices. Google is still challenging the record fine of $4.3 billion (approximately Rs. 35,100) in that case.