Google’s Antitrust Victory Short Lived

Google's Anti-Trust Victory Short Lived

( – Last October, an Indian court hit Google with a massive fine for antitrust violations. The court also ordered the company to make changes to how it does business. Now the Big Tech giant won a partial victory in its appeal — but it still has to pay the fine.

In October 2022, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which handles antitrust cases, ruled that Google had exploited its power in the cell phone operating system market to force restrictions on device manufacturers. Among other things, the court found that Google was forcing manufacturers to install some apps and insisting that others had to be installed through its own App Store. The court fined the company $161 million and ordered it to make 10 changes to its business model.

Google immediately appealed the ruling, complaining that “no other jurisdiction has ever asked for such far-reaching changes” and claiming the growth of Android in the Indian market could be halted by the ruling. In January, India’s Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal — but it did refer the case to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and asked it to make a decision by the end of March.

On March 29, NCLAT gave its own ruling. The tribunal found that CCI was right to find Google guilty and upheld the fine against the company. However, it did agree to set aside four of the 10 changes the CCI had imposed.

Now, Google can continue to stop users from downloading third-party apps directly instead of through the Play Store, and it can also continue to block other app stores from its own. In another big win, Google can still prevent users from uninstalling its own apps, including Google Maps and YouTube. However, it will now let users choose their own default search engines. The company has won a partial victory — but so has the Indian government.

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