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Google-OEM agreement terms scanned by CCI: Report

The investigation wing of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has handed a letter to several smartphone manufacturers in India to ask about their relationship with Google, says a recent report by The Economic Times. More specifically, it’s the terms and conditions of the agreements between Google and various smartphone manufacturers in the country that are currently being scrutinised by the Indian regulatory body. We, at Digit.in, have personally not seen a copy of the letter sent by the CCI.

According to the report, the CCI is attempting to find out whether there’s any misuse of the mobile OS market share by Google or its group companies. The European Union had reportedly imposed a fine of $2.7 billion (approximately Rs 270 crore) last year for abuse of Android’s market dominance. The letter drafted by the CCI has been handed over to several manufacturers, including Samsung, Xiaomi, Karbonn, and Lava with a two-week window to respond.

The CCI expects smartphone makers to shed some light on the “licence fee or royalty payments made to Google for using Android OS and Google mobile services on a yearly basis, from April 2011 till March 2019”. The regulatory body reportedly started its probe into Android in the middle of April after complaints of Google blocking out the competition surfaced. Google, whose popular mobile OS had a reported market share of 99 percent as of March 2019, has agreed to cooperate with the CCI.

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Google-which is best known for its ubiquitous search engine, Gmail, and Android-has been accused of bias and unfair play in the past. In February last year, the CCI slapped a fine of Rs 136 crore on Google for abusing its dominance in online web search and search advertising markets after conducting a seven-year-long investigation into Google’s policies and practices. The ongoing investigation is the CCI’s second probe into Google’s affairs in the last two years.

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