Exclusive Google warns Android growth in India will stall due

Indian startups rejoice as Android ruling against Google upheld India

NEW DELHI, Jan. 20 (Portal) – Startups in India on Thursday hailed a Supreme Court decision to uphold an antitrust order forcing Google to change the way it runs its popular Android platform, saying it Judgment would open the market to competitors and boost competition.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) asked Google to make a number of changes in October, including abandoning agreements that ensure the exclusivity of its search services and mandatory pre-installation of its apps. It also asked Google to allow third-party app stores to be housed on its Play Store.

In a major setback for the Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) entity, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday denied Google’s request to block antitrust policies, which the company says are hurting consumers and thwarting the growth of the Android ecosystem in would stop India. Google now has seven days to comply.

Rohan Verma, CEO of mapping service MapmyIndia, which launched an app in 2004, told Portal his app hasn’t gained market share over the years because the Google Maps app comes preinstalled on many Android phones.

The CCI decision states that Google cannot now impose such requirements.

“We’re thrilled,” said Verma. “There have been negative impacts over the years. We hope consumers and device makers will now use our app more.”

Counterpoint Research estimates that around 97% of India’s 600 million smartphones run on Android. Apple only has a 3% share.

Google licenses the Android system to smartphone makers and says it offers more choice for all, and agreements made – which critics say anti-competitive – help keep the operating system free and open source.

Rakesh Deshmukh, CEO of Indus OS, which runs a rival app store to Google, called the ruling a “watershed moment” and said allowing other app stores within the US firm’s Play Store in India would give consumers more choices and improve the Promote use of apps.

Naval Chopra, a lawyer for India’s Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, which Google has challenged in court in the past, said Thursday’s court decision was landmark.

“This is a landmark decision in the history of competition law in India and globally,” he said, adding the CCI guidelines, “potentially leading to a new Indian competitor in video hosting, mapping, web browsers or, dare we say it , search lead .”

Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil Additional reporting by Arpan Chaturvedi Editing by Mark Potter

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