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Google Accuses India’s Competition Commission of Protecting Amazon

 |  July 6, 2023

Google, a tech giant, has accused India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) of protecting Amazon after it ordered the tech giant to make changes to its business model. The company approached India’s Supreme Court to quash the October 2022 order from CCI. While CCI fined Google INR 13.38B ($163M) for anti-competitive practices, the tech giant has argued that the antitrust body’s directives were ‘only to protect’ Amazon.

In its October 2022 ruling, the CCI said its investigators found Google’s contractual restrictions had ‘reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell’ devices operating on Android forks, hurting consumer interests. Amazon said to the CCI during the probe that Google’s restrictions impeded the development of its Android fork called Fire OS.

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Google has expressed its concern about India’s Android decision as the directives were seen even more sweeping than those imposed in the European Commission’s landmark 2018 ruling against the company’s Android market abuse. Google and Amazon have been in an ongoing battle for many years, particularly in India, where the growth of the e-commerce sector has been astronomical.

In its defense, Google, in a June 26 filing to the Supreme Court, stated, “Globally, FireOS failed commercially due to poor user experience. In India, the Fire Phone was not even launched. Thus, the Commission called Amazon’s lack of attempt to compete in India a failure and attributed it to Google’s agreements.”

According to court documents, Amazon told Indian investigators the creation of Fire OS, as a forked Android, took ‘substantial resources’, including thousands of employee hours. However, the antitrust body ruled against Google’s argument. Google is now arguing in India’s Supreme Court against any penalty and claiming that it did not abuse its market position.

The CCI wants Google to comply with its all its directives, the antitrust body said in a separate filing. This case will be closely watched and will have implications for the tech industry as a whole. Google is hopeful that the court will rule in their favour to protect their business model.