Tech giant thinks a $161 million fine for exploiting the market dominance of its Android operating system should be overturned.

Google has told a tribunal in India that the country’s antitrust investigators copied parts of a European ruling against the US company for abusing the market dominance of its Android operating system, arguing that the decision should be overturned, legal documents show.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in October Alphabet Inc. fined Google $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in markets such as online search and the Android App Store, and requested that it change the restrictions placed on smartphone manufacturers regarding pre-installing apps.

Sources told the Reuters news agency in October that Google was concerned about the Indian decision, as the measures offered were seen as more drastic than the landmark 2018 European Commission ruling for imposing unlawful restrictions on Android mobile device manufacturers. Google has challenged a record fine of 4.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in that case.

In its application to an Indian appellate court, Google states that the CCI’s investigative unit “extensively copied and pasted from a European Commission decision, using evidence from Europe that was not investigated in India.”

“There are more than 50 cases of copypaste,” in some cases “word for word,” and the watchdog has wrongly dismissed the issue, Google said in its filing, which is not public but has been reviewed by Reuters.

“The Commission has not conducted an impartial, balanced and legally sound investigation… Google’s mobile app distribution practices are pro-competitive and not unfair/exclusive.”

Spokesmen for the CCI and the European Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Google said in a statement that it decided to appeal the CCI’s decision, believing it “is a major setback for our Indian users and businesses”. It did not comment on the copy-and-paste allegations in its filing.

Google has asked the tribunal to quash the CCI’s order and the case will be heard on Wednesday.

The Indian competition decision came as Google faced increased antitrust scrutiny globally. Google licenses its Android system to smartphone makers, but critics say it imposes anti-competitive restrictions.

The American company says Android has created more choices for everyone and such agreements help keep the operating system free. In Europe, 75 percent of 550 million smartphones run Android, compared to 97 percent of India’s 600 million devices, Counterpoint Research estimates.

The CCI ruled in October that Google’s license to its Play Store “will not be linked to the requirement to pre-install” Google search services, the Chrome browser, YouTube or other Google applications.

In its appeal, Google claims the CCI only found antitrust violations related to the Google search app, the Chrome browser, and YouTube, but that its order goes “beyond that.”

Separately, Google has also appealed another Indian antitrust decision that fined it $113 million for restricting the use of third-party billing or payment processing services in India. The appeal has yet to be heard.



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