Tech giant Google has filed an application before the Supreme Court seeking “modification” of the apex court’s judgement in the Android case, stating that the January 19 ruling did not record the entire extent of Google’s “offer”.
The “modification application” was filed Wednesday to the limited extent of the “offer” that was made by Google on a without prejudice basis, sources familiar with the development said.
Last week, the Supreme Court, while rejecting Google plea for stay of NCLAT order, extended the period of compliance by another week, and this period expired on January 26.
However, on Wednesday, just a day before the extended deadline to implement CCI’s ten directives expired, Google said in a blogpost that it has informed CCI on how it would comply with CCI directives. Tech giant said it was making changes to its platform in India, allowing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to li cence individual Google apps for preinstallation on their devices. Earlier, the apps came preinstalled in the An droid smartphones/devices for free, but many apps forming part of its GMS could not be uninstalled.
Google on Wednesday among other announcements around CCI directives also said that Indian users will now have the option to choose their default search engine via a choice of screens.
“The CCI’s recent directives for Android and Play Store require us to make signiﬁcant changes for India and today (Wednesday) we’ve informed the CCI of how we will be complying with their directives,” Google said in a blog post on Wednesday.
Earlier, NCLAT had on January 4 declined to give an interim stay against the CCI ruling of October 20 last year and agreed to admit appeal on pre deposit of 10 per cent of overall penalty of ₹1,337 crore. Google went on to appeal before SC against this NCLAT order.
In its modification application to SC’s January 19 ruling, Google contended that Para 4 (iv) of the judgement— which records the submissions made by Google’s counsel during the SC hearing — needs to be modified as it has not captured the entire “offer” made by Google for partial compliance of CCI’s ten directions provided in its ruling of October 20 last year.
In particular, Google has in the modification application highlighted that the judgement has not recorded the counsel submission that “appellant” (Google) would ensure the unbundling of only: (I) Search and Chrome from Play, and (II) Chrome from Search.
Also, the other submission that has not been recorded is “ In terms of the decision of the European Commission dated July 18, 2018, the Appellants would ensure that the Search app pre-installation exclusivity only on portfolio wide RSAs would not be pursued.
In addition, the judgement does not record that such an offer was made on behalf of Google without prejudice to its submissions as to why the operations of the CCI ruling in Android matter — more particularly in paras 617.1, 617.2 and 617.4 ought to be stayed, the modification application said.
For the sake of good order, these additions need to be made to the SC judgement’s para 4(iv), including the point that such offer was made on a “without prejudice” basis, Google has submitted.
Competition law experts said that the modification application is significant as the Android matter is now before the NCLAT and the Tribunal needs to have right picture of the actual offer made by the tech giant before its appeal is taken up.