Google takes CCI to court after a confidential Android probe report detailing the watchdog’s interim fact-finding was leaked

Google Files Writ Against CCI Following Leaked Android Investigation Report

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Sep 23, 2021 04:48 PM +05:30 IST
Google Files Writ Against CCI Following Leaked Android Investigation ReportGoogle
  • Google has filed a writ petition against the Competition Commission of India in the Delhi High Court over the disclosure of Android investigation report containing company's confidential information to the media.

Tech giant Google has filed a writ petition against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the Delhi High Court on 23 September, following the disclosure of a damning confidential report detailing the watchdog's interim finding in an antitrust investigation.

Google filed the writ suit in the court seeking redress in this situation, notably criticising the breach of confidence, which affected the tech giant and its partners, as well as harmed its capacity to defend itself, the company said.

According to the confidential report, which Google has yet to receive or assess, the American tech giant reportedly abused Android's dominating position in India to unfairly harm competitors in the world's second-largest internet market—based on a probe, launched almost two years ago, by the Indian antitrust agency to investigate Google's suspected exploitation of Android in the country. It was said that the tech giant's mobile operating system is used on 98 per cent of smartphones in India.

The report, which was released last week, revealed that Google had hampered device manufacturers' ability to produce and sell smartphones running alternative versions of Android. The report also noted that Google's mandate that device manufacturers pre-install the apps is also determined to be in violation of India's competition law. Earlier Google said that it is looking forward to working with the CCI to show how “Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less”.

During the probe, more than a half-dozen companies, including Amazon and Apple, answered questions from India's competition watchdog CCI. The findings came as the latest blow for Google in India, where it is facing a slew of antitrust investigations and threats from a rising number of indigenous businesses, founders and investors.

However, as per latest reports, according to a Google spokesperson: “We are deeply concerned that the Director General’s Report, which contains our confidential information in an ongoing case, was leaked to the media while in the CCI’s custody. Protecting confidential information is fundamental to any governmental investigation, and we are pursuing our legal right to seek redress and prevent any further unlawful disclosures."

"We cooperated fully and maintained confidentiality throughout the investigative process, and we hope and expect the same level of confidentiality from the institutions we engage with,” added the spokesperson.

India is an important international market for the tech giant, with over half a billion internet users. As reported, the Android creator has invested much in the country. For example, in 2020, it announced plans to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years and has already spent a significant portion of it, thanks to a $4.5 billion investment in Indian technological behemoth Jio Platforms.

However, as reported, the DG’s findings do not represent the CCI's final decision and the filing of the inquiry report is merely a procedural stage in the process. According to the company’s statement, Google has not yet had the opportunity to evaluate the findings, “much less submit its defence of any allegations”.

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