The last order by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the Google Case may be developer-friendly, but in practice, it can have a practical and financial impact on the developers, especially the startups, according to legal experts.
The CCI fined Google Rs 936.44 crore on October 25 for abusing its dominant position in terms of its Play Store billing and payment policy, days after the regulator slapped a fine of Rs 1,338 crore for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets with its. Android Mobile operating system (OS).
According to Gowree Gokhalepartner, Nishita Desai AssociatesFrom the order, at least, it does not appear that there was enough evidence on the effects of Google’s practices on end consumers and the Android ecosystem.
“In the absence of anti-fragmentation obligations, if multiple incompatible Android OS versions are developed by OEMs, the developers may have to customize their apps for each version. This can delay market entry and increase the price,” Gokhale said.
This, in turn, may contribute to the disparity of opportunity between small and large developers.
“The overall value of the Android ecosystem as a whole could get eroded. It seems highly unlikely that baseline compatibility standards across such fragmented ecosystems would emerge, based solely on market forces,” said Gokhale.
Google was given a deadline of 30 days to provide the necessary financial details and supporting documents in the CCI order.
Hit by two back-to-back fines by the CCI, Google said it is reviewing the decision to evaluate next steps.
In a statement, Google said Indian developers have benefited from the technology, security, consumer protections and unrivaled choice and flexibility that Android and Google Play Supply.
“And, by keeping costs low, our model has powered India’s digital transformation and expanded access for hundreds of millions of Indians. We remain committed to our users and developers and are reviewing the decision to evaluate next steps,” a Google spokesperson Said.
According to Gokhale, one of the benefits of the anti-fragmentation obligations placed on the OEM by Google is standardizing security implementation in the overall Android ecosystem, across all devices.
“In the absence of this obligation, OEM may develop an OS version that is not safe or interoperable with other versions. Consumers may not be well aware of the differences in the OS versions and may simply rely on the Android brand,” she emphasized.
She said that since users’ personal data is collected across various apps, it is very important that all devices have equal security standards. This also helps consumers have a wider choice of devices.
“The CCI does not seem to have considered this aspect in detail at all,” Gokhale said.