India’s antitrust order will stall Android’s progress in the country, Google warns

Google has warned that growth in the use of Android in India may stall due to an antitrust order issued by the Indian antitrust watchdog last year over the U.S. company’s domination in the country.

The order, which was issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in September, found that Google had abused its dominant position in the market for mobile operating systems by imposing restrictive contracts on mobile manufacturers.

The CCI ordered Google to change its contracts with manufacturers, allowing them more freedom to install rival apps and services on Android devices. According to a Reuters report, Google filed a challenge with India’s Supreme Court and said that the order would require some modifications of its existing contracts and new license agreements. It would alter the company’s existing arrangements with over 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers.

“Tremendous advancement in growth of an ecosystem of device manufacturers, app developers and users is at the verge of coming to a halt because of the remedial directions,” the company said in the filing, as quoted by the news agency. “No other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes based on similar conduct.”

After three and a half years of investigation, the Indian watchdog fined Google $161.9 million for its anti-competitive practices related to Android devices in several markets, such as licensable OS for smartphones, app store, web search services and non-OS specific mobile web browsers. The regulator concluded that the Android maker dominated all those markets.

Google had responded to the order and said that it was a “major setback for Indian consumers and businesses.” The company also appealed the ruling to the country’s appellate tribunal, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

Last week, the tribunal dismissed Google’s plea for an interim stay on the antitrust order and directed the company to pay 10% of the $161.9 million penalty while the case is due for hearing.

This is not the first time Google has been subject to an antitrust investigation. The company was previously investigated by authorities in other countries. For instance, Google eventually lost its appeal against a massive $4.3 billion fine in Europe.