Google Hearing Against CCI Penalty Order Completed, NCLAT Reserves Judgment

Google Hearing Against CCI Penalty Order Completed, NCLAT Reserves Judgment

Google Hearing Against CCI Penalty Order Completed, NCLAT Reserves Judgment

The NCLAT on Monday concluded its hearing on the petition filed by Google, in which the tech giant challenged the order of the Competition Commission imposing a Rs. 1,337.76 crore penalty for anticompetitive practices in relation to the android mobile devices.

A two-member bench from the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) conducted the day-to-day hearing for more than a month.

“Heard learned counsel for the parties. The hearing is over. Judgment reserved,” said the NCLAT bench consisting of presiding judge Ashok Bhushan and member Alok Srivastava.

On October 20 last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,337.76 crores on Google for anti-competitive practices regarding Android mobile devices. The regulator had also ordered the internet major to cease and desist from various unfair business practices.

This decision was challenged before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which is an appeal body for orders made by the TCC.

Google, in its petition, had argued that the ICC investigation against it was “tainted”, saying the two informants into whose complaint the fair-trade regulator had opened the investigation worked in the same office that was investigating the major of technology.

According to Google’s plea, CCI failed to conduct an “impartial, balanced and legally valid investigation” while ignoring evidence from Indian users, app developers and OEMs.

Challenging the ICC order, Google said the findings are “grossly flawed and ignore” the reality of competition in India, Google’s pro-competitive business model and the benefits created for all stakeholders.

Google claimed the DG had largely copied a European Commission decision, deploying European evidence that had not been reviewed in India or even in the Commission’s file.

While CCI during the hearing alleged that Google had created digital data hegemony and called for a market space with “free, fair and open competition”.

Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, who had represented the ICC in the appeals court, said a market with greater freedom for all players would be in full sync with the principles of free competition rather than competition. approach to the “walled garden” of the Internet major.

He argued that Google had used its money-making search engine like the “castle” and the rest of the other apps to play the defensive “ditch” role. This “castle and moat” strategy is data hegemony, which means that a big market player tends to get bigger and bigger while a small entrant struggles to reach a critical mass of users and of user data.

According to him, data capture and data deployment are leveraged and monetized as ad revenue. When choice is the guiding principle of competition law, Google’s hegemony reduces both choice and competition.

Venkataraman pointed out that the implementation of the remedies provided by the ICC would go a long way towards having a market with greater freedom for all players, which would be in full synchronization with the principles of free competition rather than with the approach ” walled garden” from Google.

Google’s abuse of dominance is proven in all of the criteria set out in Section 4 of the Competition Act in terms of mandatory pre-installation, prime placement, and core app bundling. Such practices result in the imposition of unfair conditions and additional obligations, he said.

From smartphones with rollable screens or liquid cooling, to compact AR glasses and handsets that can be easily repaired by their owners, we discuss the best devices we saw at MWC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify , Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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