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Android System Case: Supreme Court To Hear Google, CCI Appeals From October 10 In March 2023, the NCLAT upheld the penalty of INR 1,338 crore imposed by the CCI

By S Shanthi

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The Supreme Court has said that it will start the final hearing of appeals by Google and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against an order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) upholding penalty for anti-trust violations from October 10. It has asked both Google and CCI to finish filing the documents before October 3.

In March 2023, the NCLAT upheld INR 1,338 crore penalty imposed by the CCI against the tech giant for abusing its dominance in the Android ecosystem. NCLAT also said that Google asking the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to pre-install the entire Google Suite of 11 applications amounts to imposition of unfair conditions.

Here is a brief timeline of the tussle, the alleged abuse of the dominant position in the Android market by Google.

Google vs CCI: A Brief Timeline

2005: Google acquired Android Inc, holds an edge over other operating systems.

2006-2008: Enters into agreements with OEMs asking them to install Google Mobile Services (GMS) and give the tech major preferential access to users.

2019: Comes under the scanner of CCI. It orders a probe on Google over abusing its power, after complaints by users of Android-based smartphones.

2021: "Google is found to be contravening the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i); Section 4(2)(b); Section 4(2)(c); Section 4(2)(d) and Section 4(2)(e) of the Competition Act," the probe report said.

June 2022- August 2022: CCI issues an order to the informants and Google to appear before it for a final hearing. Google then files its response to the investigation report. Post a brief hearing, the next hearing is scheduled for August 31 and September 1. Google then points submissions on the quantum of the penalty.

October 2022: CCI concluded that Google was abusing its dominant position in multiple Android mobile device ecosystem markets. It asked Google to cease and desist from its practices and pay a penalty of Rs 1,338 crore.

October 2022: The above was challenged by Google before NCLAT, an appellate authority over the CCI against any direction issued by the regulator. However, NCLAT denied any immediate relief. It said, "We are of the opinion that at the moment, considering the voluminous nature of the appeal and the fact that the date of final hearing is fixed on April 3, 2023 there is no need to pass any interim order."

March 2023: The NCLAT upheld the penalty of INR 1,338 crore imposed by the CCI. The tribunal said that a number of Google's practices pointed to an abuse of dominance, which in some cases, had also stalled scientific development.

S Shanthi

Former Senior Assistant Editor

Shanthi specializes in writing sector-specific trends, interviews and startup profiles. She has worked as a feature writer for over a decade in several print and digital media companies. 


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