Google: Antitrust Battles in India
In addition to Google, LLC (Google) facing multiple litigations around the globe, India's antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), had recently launched its own investigation into the company. This was not the first occasion of an antitrust probe being initiated against Google in international markets. The company had already paid an astonishing US$ 9 billion in fines for abusing Android's dominant position in the smartphone market to boost its dominance in other areas, such as web searching, browsing, and mobile apps. In 2019, Google was in trouble in India, again, for similar reasons. The CCI alleged that Google forced smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser on their devices, thus misusing its dominant position by stopping smartphone manufacturers from opting for alternative versions of its mobile operating system (OS). However, Google strongly denied these allegations, arguing that it had not indulged in anti-competitive practices; rather, it claimed it had promoted relevant market competition. Which marketing practices of Google invited the antitrust probe and allegations of abuse of their dominant position in India? Why were competition watchdogs concerned about the growing dominance of Google in the Indian mobile operating software (OS) market? In an oligopolistic market comprising multiple players, why did the CCI consider Google to be a dominant player in the Indian mobile OS market? Could Google do something to avoid antitrust lawsuits and allegations of abuse of dominance in the future? Parul Gupta is affiliated with Management Development Institute.