Google has challenged CCI ruling in Android case before National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and has sought an immediate stay on the ruling. The global tech major has supported its appeal with testimonials of start-ups that have raised ‘concerns’ over Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) ruling.
In the appeal, Google has challenged the findings as “patently erroneous” and ignoring “the reality of competition in India, Google’s procompetitive business model, and the benefits created for all stakeholders”. CCI order has been described as “fraught with substantive, analytical, and procedural errors including inter alia ignoring exculpatory evidence, statements from Indian OEMs and developers”.
Notably, Google accused the investigation arm of CCI i.e. the Office of the Director General (DG) of copy-pasting the conclusions from decisions of foreign authorities without any application of mind.
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Google also highlighted that the case was initiated by two research associates working at the Office of the DG just over a month after the European Commission Press Release was issued, without any evidence of harm to OEMs, developers, orusers in India.
Taking exception to CCI entertaining such complaint, Google argued that CCI should have refrained from initiating an investigation based on a complaint filed by its own employees.
On October 20, 2022, the fair trade regulator had levied a fine of ₹ 1336.7 crore on Google in the Android mobile ecosystem matter besides issuing series of non-monetary sanctions for indulging in anti-competitive conduct.
Separately on October 25, CCI had pulled up Google for abusing its dominant position as regards its Google Play policy and imposed a penalty of ₹937 crore on the the global tech giant.
The competition law provides sixty day window for appeal before NCLAT against an order of CCI.
Despite expiry of sixty days period allowed for appeal in the Android mobile ecosystem case, Google had neither deposited the penalty within 60 days as directed by CCI nor has it been able to obtain any stay on the orders issued by CCI, and thereby rendered itself liable to be prosecuted for non-compliance of the directives of competition watchdog. CCI had on the 61 st day—in the absence of any stay on penalty—therefore initiated penalty recovery measures