Google announces sweeping changes for Android device makers in India after Supreme Court upholds TCC order

Google said on Wednesday it would allow device makers in India to license its individual apps for pre-installation and give users the option to choose their default search engine, announcing sweeping changes to how Google works. its Android system.

The move comes after the country’s Supreme Court upheld tough antitrust guidelines last week, dismissing a challenge by Google to a ruling by India’s Competition Commission that said the company had abused its market position, ordering it to change the way it markets its Android system in a key growth market. .

“Implementing these changes in the ecosystem will be a complex process and will require significant work on our side and, in many cases, significant effort from partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEM ) and developers,” Google said in a blog post.

Google was concerned about India’s decision, as the measures are seen as more sweeping than those imposed in the European Commission’s landmark 2018 ruling against Android.

About 97% of the 600 million smartphones in India run Android, while in Europe the system accounts for 75% of the 550 million smartphones, according to estimates from Counterpoint Research.

The TCC ruled in October that Alphabet-owned Google was exploiting its dominant position in Android and told it to remove restrictions on device makers, including those related to pre-installing apps and downloading apps. exclusivity of his research. It also fined Google $161 million (about Rs. 1,300 crore).

Hoping to block enforcement of the ICC guidelines, Google had gone to the Supreme Court, warning that the growth of its Android ecosystem was stalling. It said it would be forced to change agreements with more than 1,100 device makers and thousands of app developers if the guidelines go into effect.

But the Supreme Court did not agree to block the guidelines as requested by Google. The court had also said a lower court — where Google first challenged the Android guidelines — could continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by March 31.

“We continue to respectfully appeal certain aspects of the TCC’s decisions,” Google said.

The US search giant also said it was updating Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes that allow partners to create unsupported variants of Android.

In Europe, Google has been fined for putting in place what the Commission called illegal restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices. Google is still contesting the record fine of 4.3 billion dollars (about 35,100 rupees) in this case.

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