Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, challenging the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s (NCLAT) order upholding the Rs 1,338 crore fine imposed on the tech major by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
In October, the CCI said that Google, whose Android mobile operating system power 97 per cent of 600 million smartphones in India, had exploited its dominant position. The competition watchdog asked Google to remove restrictions imposed on device makers, including those related to the pre-installation of applications and imposed a penalty of $163 million, which it paid.
In February, Google appealed before the NCLAT that there had been an unfair imposition by the CCI on its mobile app distribution agreement with device makers. The company said it did not restrict the device makers from installing other apps, including those of rivals.
On January 19, the Supreme Court refused to stay the NCLAT order of January 4 and directed the appellate tribunal to decide Google’s plea by March 31. It had also declined to grant a stay on the 10 non-monetary directions issued by the CCI in its October 20 ruling last year.
While arguing the matter before NCLAT, Google said that the pre-installation of its apps on devices through a Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) was not unfair.
The NCLAT has partially upheld CCI’s abuse of the Android dominance order against the tech giant in March 2023. The tribunal upheld the Rs 1,338 crore fine imposed by CCI.
Additionally, the anti-trust appellate held that Google asking the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to pre-install the entire Google Suite of 11 applications amounts to imposition of unfair conditions. NCLAT had set aside four of the 10 directives in the case.
Google is now urging the apex court to quash the remaining directives. According to the filing, the company is also arguing that it has not abused its market position and should not be been liable to pay a penalty.
According to a Reuters report, the CCI has also approached the Supreme Court to reverse the tribunal’s decision to give Google partial relief.