Google has promised to cooperate with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) after the Supreme Court upheld an antitrust order directing the US technology giant to change the way it uses its popular Android platform to thrust upon customers unwanted mobile apps and advertisements.
CCI had, in October, ruled that Google, exploited its dominant position in Android to force its will on mobile phone manufacturers. It also told Google to remove restrictions on device makers, including those related to the pre-installation of apps and ensuring exclusivity of its search.
The anti-trust watchdog also imposed a fine of $161million on Google.
Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, accuses CCI of copy-pasting a similar ruling by the European Union on its Android policy.
Google moved the country’s top court, challenging the CCI ruling, but the Supreme Court refused to block the directives and instead asked Google to comply with the ruling within seven days.
“We remain committed to our users and partners and will cooperate with the CCI on the way forward,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the Reuters news agency, without explaining the steps it could take.
We are reviewing the details of yesterday’s decision which is limited to interim relief and did not decide the merits of our appeal,” Google said, adding that it would continue to pursue its legal challenge to the Android decision.
The Supreme Court has said the tribunal – where Google first challenged the Android directives – can continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by 31 March.
About 97 percent of 600 million smartphones in India run on Android, according to Counterpoint Research estimates. Apple has just a 3 percent share.
Google had challenged the CCI order in the Supreme Court by warning it could stall the growth of the Android ecosystem. It also said it would be forced to alter arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers if the directives kick in.
Google is still challenging the record $4.3bn fine the European Commission had imposed on it through its 2018 ruling against what the Commission called unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device makers.
Google, however, made changes later, including letting Android device users pick their default search engine and said device makers will be able to license the Google mobile app suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser.