Google said Wednesday it would allow device makers in India to license their individual apps for pre-install and give users the ability to choose their default search engine, announcing sweeping changes to how its system works Android.
The move comes after the country’s Supreme Court last week upheld strict antitrust guidelines, dismissing an appeal by Google against a ruling by India’s Competition Commission that the company abused its market position by ordering it to change the way it sells its Android system in country.
“Implementing these ecosystem changes will be a complex process and will require significant work on our part and, in many cases, significant effort by partners, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and developers,” Google said in a statement. a blog post.
Google was concerned about India’s decision, as the measures are seen as more far-reaching than those imposed in the European Commission’s landmark 2018 ruling against Android.
About 97% of the 600 million smartphones in India run on Android, while in Europe the system accounts for 75% of the 550 million smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research estimates.
The ICC ruled in October that Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., leveraged its dominance of Android and asked it to remove restrictions on device manufacturers, including those related to pre-installing apps and ensuring the uniqueness of the its research service. It also fined Google $161 million.
Hoping to block the implementation of the CCI directives, Google has appealed to the Supreme Court, warning that the growth of its Android ecosystem will stop. He said he would be forced to change deals with more than 1,100 device makers and thousands of app developers if the guidelines go into effect.
But the Supreme Court has not agreed to block the directives requested by Google. The court also said a lower court — where Google first challenged Android’s guidelines — could continue to hear the company’s appeal and must rule by March 31.
“We continue to respectfully appeal certain aspects of the ICC’s decisions,” Google said.
The US search giant also said it was updating its Android compatibility requirements to introduce changes to allow partners to build unsupported variants of Android.
In Europe, Google has been fined for implementing what the Commission calls illegal restrictions on Android mobile device makers. Google is still contesting the record $4.3 billion fine in that case.
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