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India’s antitrust watchdog orders probe into Google in smart TVs suit

Reuters NEW DELHI | Updated on July 12, 2021

CCI’s initial review finds Google had breached certain anti-competitive laws.

India's antitrust watchdog on Tuesday ordered an investigation into allegations that AlphabetInc's Google abused its Android operating system’s position in the country's smart television market.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which last year began looking into a case filed by two lawyers against the U.S.tech giant, said its initial review found Google had breached certain anti-competitive laws.

The CCI said that based on information available, including submissions made by Google, it was “convinced that a case is made out for directing an investigation” by the CCI director general.

Denies wrongdoing

Google has denied wrongdoing. In a statement on Tuesday, it said the emerging smart TV sector in India was thriving in part due to Google's free licensing model and said Android TV competed with several well-established TV operating systems. “We are confident that our smart TV licensing practices are in compliance with all applicable competition laws,” a company spokesperson said.

Smart TVs, or WiFi-enabled TVs with apps for streaming services, are increasingly popular. Data from Counterpoint Research shows 8 million smart TV sets were sold in India in 2019, with three in five based on Google’s Android system.

Kshitiz Arya and Purushottam Anand, two Indian lawyers who filed the case, told Reuters they welcomed the probe, saying Google had restricted the development of many virtual goods and services.

The case will be Google's third ongoing antitrust investigation in India, where it faces a probe into its payments app and Android mobile operating system.

Published on June 23, 2021

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