Google has accused the Indian antitrust committee of using its position as the enforcing body to protect Amazon’s interest in the Indian market.
Google has approached the Supreme Court of India alleging that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) told the company to make changes to its business model to protect Amazon. To this effect, Google has asked the Supreme Court to have the CCI’s order quashed as the company believes that the regulator acted in bad faith.
According to Reuters, Amazon had reached out to the CCI earlier claiming that Google’s gatekeeping prevented the company from developing Fire OS, an Android fork for Amazon devices. In a filing submitted to the court, Google argued that the CCI took Amazon’s word and handed down a fine to Google without reviewing the facts:
Globally, FireOS failed commercially due to poor user experience. In India, the Fire Phone was not even launched.
Thus, the Commission called Amazon’s lack of attempt to compete in India a failure and attributed it to Google’s agreements.
The CCI had earlier reached a conclusion that Google’s restrictions had “reduced the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell” Android folks which was not in line with the consumer’s interest. Google is currently arguing that it should not be required to pay the penalty as it did not abuse its market position, while Amazon noted that it took “substantial resources” and man hours to create the Fire OS.
A lower court had earlier ruled out against Google noting that the CCI was within its rights to fine Google for anti-competitive practices. However, Google has challenged the decision and plans to fight it out in the Supreme Court. The case is expected to be heard in the coming days.
Last October, the CCI had fined Google to the tune of $113 million for not allowing third-party developers to use an alternative payment processing system. This led Google to make changes to its business model as well as introduce User Choice Billing (UCB) system. Unfortunately for Google, earlier this year, CCI opened up an inquiry into Google for abusing the UCB system, after several companies lodged complaints with the regulators.